Atlanta Orders In: Blue Rooster will satisfy your sweet tooth with cake, cookies and more

With locations in Lawrenceville and Monroe, Blue Rooster Bake Shop and Eatery specializes in cakes and other baked goods. Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com
With locations in Lawrenceville and Monroe, Blue Rooster Bake Shop and Eatery specializes in cakes and other baked goods. Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Smaller gatherings during pandemic spark demand for downsized desserts

The pandemic may have altered most aspects of our lives, but it hasn’t curbed our craving for cake — at least, not for those who get their cake from Blue Rooster Bake Shop and Eatery in Lawrenceville.

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A sign celebrates the specialty at Blue Rooster Bake Shop and Eatery. Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com
A sign celebrates the specialty at Blue Rooster Bake Shop and Eatery. Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

“Cake sales never slowed,” General Manager Cat Funes said. “We went from pandemic mindset to holiday mindset.”

In the week leading up to Christmas, the cake department handled 120 pre-orders, ranging from the bestselling old-fashioned strawberry to seasonal offerings like white chocolate peppermint and pumpkin spice. Add to that an additional 50 buttercream cakes in the case, ready for walk-in customers.

Sales did shift, though, in 2020, as households hunkered down at home, and weddings were downsized. Both categories of clientele looked for smaller-sized sweets for their intimate celebrations, rather than two- and three-tier cakes.

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Cat Funes is the general manager at the Blue Rooster location in downtown Lawrenceville. Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com
Cat Funes is the general manager at the Blue Rooster location in downtown Lawrenceville. Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

“We are slowly starting to notice that our larger cakes are coming back,” Funes said. “I foresee this next year coming closer to normal cake business.”

Blue Rooster’s co-owners, Kyle Cave and her sister-in-law, Donna Cave, couldn’t have foreseen the disruption that 2020 would cause, but their business was positioned to handle it.

Blue Rooster offers a variety of boxed lunches, ranging in price from $8.95 to $10.95, and including a choice of sandwich, pasta salad, potato salad, fresh fruit or chips and a cookie or brownie. Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com
Blue Rooster offers a variety of boxed lunches, ranging in price from $8.95 to $10.95, and including a choice of sandwich, pasta salad, potato salad, fresh fruit or chips and a cookie or brownie. Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Boxed lunches are a mainstay at the daytime cafe, with orders coming from the Gwinnett County Courthouse, businesses around the historic town square and Gwinnett schools.

The pandemic brought an uptick of orders for the white deli boxes wrapped in blue ribbon, particularly when Blue Rooster partnered with the Meal Bridge, a nonprofit established during the COVID-19 outbreak to generate revenue for restaurants and feed health care workers. “It opened a forum for everyday customers to buy lunch for however many (health care) staffers,” Funes said. “We had some customers who would buy 30 lunches for us to deliver. It was truly incredible.”

Another feat accomplished in 2020: The Caves expanded, adding a location in downtown Monroe. Its October debut was delayed by several months; the blame falls not on the pandemic, but “problems that come from a 100-year-old building. We redid the whole thing, to bring the Blue Rooster aesthetic out there,” Funes said.

 City officials are encouraging development of homes near Lawrenceville’s town square, where Blue Rooster is located. Matt Kempner/AJC
City officials are encouraging development of homes near Lawrenceville’s town square, where Blue Rooster is located. Matt Kempner/AJC

The Blue Rooster aesthetic — and the youthful staff — offer cheer and charm, which were especially inviting on the cold, rainy Saturday that I visited.

Since Blue Rooster doesn’t have same-day online ordering, I’d scribbled my order down to save time in line. Ordering the restaurant’s signature chicken salad sandwich for that boxed lunch, along with a tummy-warming roasted red pepper bisque and a hot ham and cheese croissant, was simple. The head-scratcher came when I eyed the vast selection of cakes, cupcakes, cookies and other sweets in the bakery case, on footed glass cake stands —anywhere there was an iota of space. So many choices! This, despite arriving too late to nab a jumbo cinnamon roll or cherry Danish.

For a savory bite, choose Blue Rooster's hot ham and cheese sandwich. Turn it into a meal by pairing it  with an order of the potato salad. Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com
For a savory bite, choose Blue Rooster's hot ham and cheese sandwich. Turn it into a meal by pairing it with an order of the potato salad. Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Even deciding which cookie to include in that boxed lunch was difficult. I opted for oatmeal-raisin, and later learned from Funes that any single gourmet cookie can be ordered “double-stuffed.” Give the oatmeal-raisin some double-stuffed treatment and it tastes like a Little Debbie oatmeal creme pie, she said.

One more sweet reason to return.

Is there a restaurant you want to see featured? Send your suggestions to ligaya.figueras@ajc.com.

Boxed lunches and cupcakes from Blue Rooster are packaged to travel well. Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com
Boxed lunches and cupcakes from Blue Rooster are packaged to travel well. Ligaya Figueras/ligaya.figueras@ajc.com

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

BLUE ROOSTER BAKE SHOP AND EATERY

Menu: breakfast baked goods, sandwiches and salads, cakes, pies, cookies and other desserts

Alcohol: no

What I ordered: chicken salad boxed lunch with pasta salad and oatmeal-raisin cookie; roasted red pepper soup; veggie sandwich; hot ham and cheese croissant with potato salad; strawberry cupcake; Italian cream cupcake. Blue Rooster is known for its chicken salad, whose unique sweetness comes from chopped grapes. They don’t skimp on the filling when slapping it between slices of bread. The roasted red pepper is a terrific, sweetish bisque, with subtle notes of tomato and gouda cheese. The freshness of the baked goods here is noticeable; the moist, almond-flavored Italian cream cupcake was exceptional. Boxed lunches and cupcakes are packaged to travel very well.

Service options: order in person or via phone; delivery available for lunch box orders of 10 or more

Outdoor dining: limited, awning-covered sidewalk dining

Mask policy: required for all employees, requested of customers

Address, phone: 169 W. Pike St., Lawrenceville; 770-995-0065

Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays

Website: blueroosterbakeshop.com

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