Restaurant News & Reviews

Anisette sweet shop is getting sweeter in second location

Nicole Evans Groth makes strawberry walnut meltaways at Anisette, a sweet shop between Five Points and Capital Boulevard in Raleigh. She was the lead confectioner at downtown Raleigh chocolatier, Videri Chocolate Factory, before opening Anisette in November 2016. She and her husband, Jason Evans Groth, are opening a second location, called Anisette Little Shop, in Oakwood.
Nicole Evans Groth makes strawberry walnut meltaways at Anisette, a sweet shop between Five Points and Capital Boulevard in Raleigh. She was the lead confectioner at downtown Raleigh chocolatier, Videri Chocolate Factory, before opening Anisette in November 2016. She and her husband, Jason Evans Groth, are opening a second location, called Anisette Little Shop, in Oakwood. jbanov@newsobserver.com

The owners of Anisette, a bakery and sweet shop, have big news about Anisette Little Shop, their new location in the Oakwood neighborhood not far from downtown.

They’ll open Anisette Little Shop as a pop-up bakery, starting this week, and plan to open every Saturday as their space is renovated and they prepare for more regular hours.

It’s a big move for Nicole Evans Groth and her husband, Jason Evans Groth, who just opened Anisette in November in a neighborhood off Capital Boulevard.

But the new location – about 350 square feet on North Bloodworth Street – is too good of an opportunity to pass up, Jason Evans Groth said, and is the perfect companion to their current location.

“Instead of a farmers’ market stand or trying to find events to go to weekly, we can find a spot in a neighborhood we love, around people and near businesses we’re fond of, where we can camp out and do our thing,” he said.

“Our thing” is a neighborhood shop that makes small batches of tarts, cakes, cookies and meringues, plus granola and coffee, from an evolving roster of roasters from around the country. Jason describes the changing menu as “adventurous but not fussy” and said his wife has a knack for conjuring up seemingly mismatched flavor combinations that just go well together. They also carry vegan items.

That’s what he and Nicole set out to do when they opened Anisette. With her world often revolving around food – from catering for bands to the couple’s travels – opening her own place seemed like a natural progression. She had been the lead confectioner at downtown Raleigh chocolatier Videri Chocolate Factory since moving to North Carolina in 2013 from Indiana (where she taught information science and database management at Indiana University’s business school). At Videri, she won a prestigious Good Food Award in 2015 for her strawberry anise ganache.

Anise, the inspiration for her shop’s name, is a frequent ingredient that stars in many of her concoctions. Not to be confused with anisette, the liqueur, anise, the spice, works like vanilla, Nicole said. It’s a complementary flavor to many other ingredients that’s “kind of warm, kind of floral,” she said.

“There’s something nostalgic about that particular flavor,” she said. “That can be said about a lot of flavors. But it’s comforting. It somehow is both really pleasing and accessible, but seems refined and classy.”

The original location on Bickett Boulevard, east of Five Points, has developed a following, despite being in a mostly residential area, thank to social media and word of mouth.

“We recently had a roasted carrot cake with goat cheese frosting,” Jason said. “We put it on Instagram, and people would just show up for it.”

It’s in a stretch of stores across the street from a park and includes an art school, a salon and children’s clothing school.

“We feel it is a destination for some folks,” Jason said. “Our strip is a little treasure of interesting but cute little shops. It’s totally what we envisioned.”

Similarly, the new location is one of three shops in a purple building in the middle of a neighborhood, one block east of Person Street. It’s the middle shop next to Yay! Summer Shop on the left (with vintage items, art and handmade crafts) and Oak & Co. (a gift shop with home goods) on the right.

For the first few months, it will be treated like a pop-up as Nicole and her two employees adjust to the increased production. Jason, one of those employees, pitches in when can, but has a full-time job is as full-time librarian at N.C. State University. Eventually, the shop will mirror the hours of the main location – Wednesday through Sunday.

Baked goods will continue to be made in the original Bickett Boulevard facility. Coffee will be made on site. There may be a few seats outside, but Anisette Little Shop will be considered more of a to-go spot.

“Whatever you see on the Instagram feed, you can expect to see it over there,” Jason said.

Info: Anisette is at 209 Bickett Blvd., Raleigh. Little Sweet Shop is at 222 N. Bloodworth St., Raleigh. www.sweetanisette.com, instagram.com/sweetanisette/

Jessica Banov: 919-829-4831, @JessicaBanov

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