In 2008, looking for a better cookie to put in their gift basket business led Cherrie and Robert Duensing straight into the bakery business. They decided to start making their own cookies themselves, with Robert doing the baking and Cherrie doing the decorating.

Eventually, the couple opened Best Regards Bakery & Café in Overland Park and have continued to use that same sense of curiosity and attention to detail to tweak and rework their most popular recipes to ensure they are always providing the highest quality baked goods and breakfast and lunch offerings to their extremely loyal fan base.

Some would say, “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,” but that mantra has never sat well with Robert. His desire to always make things better has him testing things like a thicker cut on his fresh baked sandwich bread to make the sandwich stand up better in carryout orders. He uses his newsletter to communicate the rework he has done on the flavor of a pickle on a sandwich, or something as simple as making sure his sugar cookies not only look good but taste good. The trick? Real European butter.

Robert specializes in making comforting bakery treats and sandwiches that remind people of better times, of their childhood or even a mother or grandmother who was always in the kitchen baking. It is his greatest desire to give people a taste of home, and there is nothing more powerful than that during a pandemic.

To get a taste of his talents, order the Box Lunch at Best Regards. Guests get their choice of sandwich on freshly baked bread, a signature side like Mom’s Potato Salad, macaroni salad, house pickles or side salad and a full-size piece of gooey butter cake for $12 to $15, depending on the sandwich ordered.

The porchetta sandwich in particular is a specialty. Robert starts with slow roasted pork belly and rubs it with 12 herbs and spices, rolls it and cooks it. Once it is done, he puts slices of it stacked between one of his housemade ciabatta buns, as nothing else will stand up to that much meat. It's a rich sandwich; the luxurious meat melts in your mouth. 

For those looking for something creamy and comforting, opt for the chicken salad made with tender, moist sous vide chicken breast that's diced and tossed in a creamy mayo dressing with dried cranberries and topped with lettuce, then placed between two thick-cut slices of housemade sourdough bread.

Finally, the BLT and Turkey Club sandwiches are both stacked tall with bacon, (and sliced turkey on the club), lettuce and, in the summer, thick slices of heirloom tomatoes. The signature grilled cheese sandwiches are also options for the boxed lunch and are a must-try for those who love a good cheese pull.

Right now, Robert and Cherrie are welcoming guests onto the Best Regards patio for a socially spaced lunch or sweet treat, but they have decided to keep the inside seating closed to the public in the name of safety.

“As painful as it is, we are keeping the dining room closed for the foreseeable future,” says Robert. “We are taking every precaution inside with everyone wearing a mask at all times and constantly changing gloves with every single customer interaction.”

For now, Robert invites guests to come to the restaurant and pick up their order from the outdoor check-in desk, where they can also sit outside on the spacious patio to enjoy their meal.

In a smart move designed to help customers see what's for sale, the bakery cases have been pushed up against the window, allowing customers to window shop and add on to their existing order. Best Regards is also offering decorated sugar cookies, ¼-pound cookies, cream puffs and éclairs in addition containers of housemade gelato and ice cream to-go.

Order online via the Best Regards website, through the Best Regards Chow Now app or simply call the store to pre-order your lunch or pastries for curbside pickup.

The bakery is open Tuesday through Friday from 8am to 6pm and Saturday from 7am to 2pm. Lunch is served Monday through Friday from 10am to 3pm and Saturday from 8am to 2pm. Best Regards is closed Sunday and Monday.

Best Regards Bakery & Cafe, 6759 W. 119th St., Overland Park, Kansas, 913.912.7238, makethemsmile.com