From a former donut shop in Raytown, Missouri, to Crown Center near downtown Kansas City to its third and current location on Bannister Road in the Oakwood neighborhood, fans have followed Big Momma’s since it first opened in 2004.
Famous for its buttery dinner rolls, Big Momma’s is the realized dream of sisters Joyce Brown, Jackie Buycks and Jill Kemp, who originally set out to turn Kemp’s mother-in-law’s cinnamon roll recipe into a full-time pursuit.
Today, Fabian Brown, Joyce’s ex-husband, is the sole owner of the bakery and café, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner alongside delicious desserts such as sweet potato pie, lemon squares and peanut butter cookies. After being forced to temporarily close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Big Momma’s has reopened, and Fabian says he is ready to fight to keep his own dream for the business alive.
Now, as the sole owner of Big Momma’s, how have you been able to sustain the business during the pandemic? I knew the basics of the family baking business, and my background is in banking, IT and real estate, so I studied the financials to figure out what this place needed to make it profitable upon reopening. I reduced the number of dine-in tables, started taking orders online for carryout and expanded our hours. I reached out and found one of our employees [from] when we were at the Crown Center location, Juan Evans, and he agreed to come back and join my team. Now we all share in the baking of all of Big Momma’s original recipes, with each of us pitching in to help ring up customers, too.
Who did you reach out to for advice during this difficult time? My kids would tell you that I don’t even know where the silverware drawer is in my own house – that shows you what I used to know about the kitchen and cooking. So, I reached out to the guys that own KC Daiquiri Shop on Grand Boulevard. I knew they had been doing well with to-go sales during the pandemic, and I wanted to talk to them to see if they thought reopening my place made sense. We talked about how people were craving comfort food – and I know that Big Momma’s gives people a taste of home. I knew that our wholesale and catering [businesses] would be slow and, with people working from home, the corporate lunches would be gone, but I also knew that come fall we would be heading into our busiest season of the year – the holidays – and I wanted to be there for our regulars who count on us for the pies and dinner rolls for their family gatherings.
What are Big Momma’s bestsellers? Big Momma’s cinnamon rolls are still what we sell the most of, and we offer them in three sizes. The Big Momma is a cinnamon roll the size of a dinner plate – it is meant to be shared – while the Little Momma is the perfect size for one person to enjoy by themselves, and the Mini Mommas are two bites each. All of them are baked fresh daily and frosted in the store when you order them. The sweet potato bars with that pecan cookie crust are another favorite, along with the chicken and turkey salad sandwiches that are served on our homemade buns.
Big Momma's, 4707 Bannister Road, Suite B, Kansas City, Missouri, 816.765.0800, bigmommaskc.com