Their sticky buns are legendary. So is their rhubarb tart (in season now!). And, of course, the white chocolate, cranberry, and pistachio tart that has been on the menu since Day 1. After 20 years in the business — the past 15 in the West Wellington neighbourhood — 3 Tarts is pulling up stakes and moving to Centretown.
Sheila Lynch, Christine Grenville, and Emily Grenville will set up shop on Bank Street, just north of the Queensway. Their new location is a thriving neighbourhood on the rise, with City Bites reporting just two weeks ago on the upcoming opening of Moo Shu Ice Cream just down the street.
City Bites Insider caught up with the three busy partners as they entered into their last six weeks on Wellington West, while already planning the September opening of the new 3 Tarts at 464 Bank Street.
How has the area changed since you set up shop here 15 years ago?
Christine: It has always been a commercial strip, with places like the Ottawa Bagel Shop, Herb and Spice, and Saslove’s, but there are a lot more food businesses now.
Sheila: The neighbourhood has become much more desirable over the years, which means rents have gone up.
Have those changes led you to change what you bake at the shop?
Christine: Our baking is classic in its origins and we’ve never felt the need to jump on any bandwagons. Which doesn’t mean that we don’t try new things!
Why the decision to move to the Glebe/Centretown area?
Sheila: The simple answer is that our lease was coming up for renewal in August and there was going to be a big jump in rent. When we first started here, our landlord was an individual and it was great, but then a real estate company took over and the relationship wasn’t the same. We’d been talking about moving for a couple of years — looking around — but the lease coming up for renewal really gave us the push we needed.
Christine: We love being here, but everything that was going on was pointing to the need for a change. And, really, we’re not moving far!
Your new place is in the old Tommy & Lefebvre building on Bank Street, just north of the Queensway, which kind of straddles the Glebe/Centretown border. Why here?
Christine: We knew we wanted a central, downtown spot with a neighbourhood feel. I love the feel of this area — it’s a very vibrant couple of blocks. Plus it’s easy to get to for customers, and I just happen to live within walking distance.
Tommy & Lefebvre was a huge store. Does this move mean a bigger space for you?
Sheila: Our store will stay about the same size. The building has been divided into units, so we’ve got a coffeeshop [My Mocha] on one side and Prince Gourmet [a shawarma restaurant] on the other.
Christine: We’ve also got the LCBO right across the road, so that’s great visibility! And a bus stop. I hope lots of hungry students will find us while they’re waiting for the bus to Carleton University.
How have your regular customers reacted to your news?
Emily: They’re pretty sad, though our Glebe customers are happy we’re moving back to their neighbourhood.
Sheila: One of our customers actually said she wished we had told her earlier and she would have chipped in to pay the rent!
Emily: Another said she wished she could rip down the “we’re moving” sign.
So when does the actual move take place?
Christine: Our lease ends at the end of August, so we’ll likely close up in mid-August.
Sheila: It may be a little optimistic, but the plan is to reopen in Centretown right at the beginning of September. It might end up being the middle of September — we’ll see!
This is a big milestone — 20 years in business and a big move. Are there recipes that you’ve been baking since Day 1?
Sheila: There are lots. Some of the fruit pies and tarts, the white chocolate-cranberry-pistachio tart has never left the menu.
Anything you’ll add with the new place?
Emily: There are lots of offices around here, so we plan to start offering platters for business meetings.
What are you most excited about?
Christine: Making the change! Change itself is inspiring.
Sheila: We’re definitely excited to have more kitchen space.
Emily: It’s going to be great to meet new customers.
Christine: And welcoming our long-time customers into the new shop.
Christine: It’s a bit bittersweet, but we’re ready for the change. And all our staff are coming with us, which means a lot.