High tea at home: Local chef offers 'Becky's Best' pastry and tea packages
It wasn't as if Rebecca "Becky" Weaver had played second fiddle to her twin brothers John and Mark all of this time.
It's just that the Weaver brothers might be the first persons one would think of when fondly recalling the Inglenook Pantry restaurant that operated in St. Charles in the 1980s and moved to Geneva in the '90s. Becky operated Becky's Bakery, which was joined at the hip with Inglenook Pantry when it operated along East Main Street across from the Arcada Theatre, starting in the late 1970s.
In effect, she was the operation's pastry chef and was visible quite often at the popular Pennsylvania Dutch eatery.
It's been a fairly jagged employment trail up to current times for Becky Weaver. Still, she's now doing something she's been wanting to do for years -- offering delivery of her pastries and high-quality tea in what amounts to a package that allows buyers to host an Afternoon Tea, or High Tea, at their homes. She is calling it "Becky's Best" -- and that describes it perfectly, considering her years of work as a pastry chef.
"I don't have a location yet for this new business," Weaver said. "We are working out of the church kitchen at Saints Peter & Paul in Virgil in space that was donated to us."
From that kitchen, Weaver is able to prepare the pastries and package the tea for delivery.
"I really can't have anyone else handle the delivery for us because the packaging and presentation of the product is so important," she said. "And it's really important now because whether you want to call it an afternoon or high tea, the fact is we are delivering it to homes because nobody can go out during the pandemic."
Weaver and business partner David Draftz hope to expand the concept to include a pickup location and ultimately a brick-and-mortar site in the future. Still, for now, Becky's Best operates as a side job out of a church kitchen.
But working hard in a kitchen has almost been second nature for Weaver, a single mom seeking to get her kids through college.
Weaver operated a bakery at Soup to Nuts after her Inglenook years and was pastry chef at Balmoral Restaurant in Campton Hills. She currently is the chef at the Arden Courts memory care center in Geneva, taking that job after her brother John retired after many years in that role.
And she took the Arden Courts job after the pandemic led to her getting laid off from the popular Balmoral Restaurant.
Draftz also worked at Balmoral, and his familiarity with Weaver's skills led him to become a business partner helping finance the venture.
"I did this all so quickly after getting laid off, and I decided to do it because my daughter said she would help, and Dave came forward to help as well," Weaver said. "I could not have done it alone because you can't run a business that way."
A couple of readers have told me they've had wonderful experiences with the current Holiday Tea Time package from Becky's Best, and reviews on Facebook also provide positive feedback.
For now, Weaver is taking orders through her Facebook page or by phone. She can be reached at (630) 200-6130, but if she is working at Arden and not answering right away, customers are encouraged to call Draftz at (630) 999-8533.
It's quite festive:
The enthusiasm and good cheer for the holidays have certainly been dampened through the weight of the coronavirus pandemic, but you can still drive or walk around to look at holiday lights.
Through the sponsorship of Gerald Subaru in North Aurora, St. Charles has been able to stage a really good idea with its Holiday Tree Trail on both sides of First Street and along the west side of the Fox River.
Numerous businesses and organizations decorated Christmas trees with themes reflecting their operations. Plenty of information and pictures about the tree trail are available on the St. Charles Business Alliance Facebook page.
You can't go wrong in the Tri-Cities area if seeing holiday lights lift your spirits when taking into account downtown Geneva is staging its Christmas Walk in three-weekend segments and has added new decorated trees to the courthouse lawn, and Batavia's Riverwalk is always a festive area.
Plus, plenty of area neighborhoods have gone above and beyond in decorating this year, it seems. Could be everyone is sensing that festive lights are one thing the pandemic can't take away -- and it's a safe thing to do.
Just so sweet:
The temptation was too much, so I did stop at Cookie Dough Bliss in Geneva on its opening weekend to try one of its sweet treats.
Did I say the treats were sweet? This is an extraordinary sugar jolt, one that should satisfy any sweet tooth.
At least that was my impression after buying a scoop of "Snickerdoodle" cookie dough. For fear my wife would have to peel me off the ceiling if I ate the whole cup at one time, I did set aside a little bit for the next day or two.
There were plenty of other temptations in this shop at 227 S. Third St., the former location of The Latest Crave cupcake shop. Those that caught my eye were something called "Monster" and "Triple Chocolate" and some other chocolate and peanut butter options.
I could have easily gone into my Arnold Schwarzenegger voice when leaving the store and told owners Kirstie Geyer and Zach Norbut that "I'll be back."
Beyond soccer success:
Strikers Fox Valley has been offering soccer training and teams for kids since it was first established in the 1980s. Operating out of a 50,000-square-foot indoor training center at 1000 Kirk Road in Geneva, the organization has developed many fine players and teams throughout the region.
In reminding people that its emphasis is on winning soccer and winning in life, Strikers Fox Valley has kicked off a "One Community, One Club" program.
Even though any given Strikers team can showcase players from across the area, such as the 2019 senior girls team with players from seven different communities, the overall message is the same for all players. "One Community, One Club, is about our efforts to offer the best program we can to these kids," Kevin Ward, director of coaching and player development for the Strikers, said in a news release about the campaign.
The intangibles that stem from soccer are the key, Ward noted. "We help to build better people by building character, fostering leadership and resilience, and practicing patience."
It shows in the organization's recent efforts to donate dozens of meals to first responders dealing with COVID-19.