Sweetbird Kitchen: Hand-Crafting Savory Pie Crust Crumbles
By: Ryan O'Bleness
April 22, 2016
It is never too late (or too early) to start something new in life; at least that is what Marilyn Mack, owner of Sweetbird Kitchen, believes. Sweetbird Kitchen is a shared kitchen/bakery space, working out of Oak Park, Mich. Mack bakes hand-crafted savory toppings and snacks, such as her Cheddar Pie Crust Crumbles ™ (which are absolutely delicious).
Mack has always loved cooking, and knew she wanted to start a food-related business. After playing around with product ideas and growing her brand (and a loyal following) through social media, she knew it was time to launch the company.
“Once I stumbled on the perfect product idea, roughly October 2015, I researched and found a shared bakery/kitchen, started the licensing process with Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, sourced packaging, tested my recipe and researched trademarks,” Mack said. “I was committed to moving through the process quickly, which is not easy. I managed to get licensed and launch my product on February 29, 2016.”
The first product to become available was The Cheddar Pie Crust Crumbles™. It is a handmade baked pie crust flavored with cheddar cheese, and then crumbled. Mack developed the idea while competing in various local chili cook-offs and looking for something to top her chili or tomato soup recipes. The crumbles were big hits at the events.
When asked where she drew her inspiration to start the kitchen from, Mack had this to say:
“The love of food and the love of feeding people has driven me all my life. I come from a very food friendly and expressive Greek family (with French and Irish as well!) so the tradition of cooking and feeding people is ingrained.”
Mack also cites her experiences cooking with her grandmothers as a child as a big factor for her passion for cooking. She was reading cookbooks by kindergarten, and taught herself about various techniques and knife skills as she grew up.
Mack is currently developing sweet flavors for her pie crust crumbles. She is testing such flavors as Blueberry-Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemon-Basil, and Peach Tea. Additionally, she is considering more savory flavors, with tastes like jalapeño or chipotle. I’ll take a bag of each, please.
If you are considering opening up a food business of your own, Mack has some advice for you:
“One of the best pieces of advice a fellow entrepreneur gave me: decide what part of your business you are the best at, and what you want to do. Decide, and once you learn all aspects of your business, hire someone great to do the parts you aren’t as passionate about. I also highly recommend taking a class Also, be an innovator. Be bold. But above all, be patient with yourself and others.”
Fun fact: The name “Sweetbird Kitchen” derives from Mack’s English bulldog, appropriately named Mack. He is always around her in the kitchen. She calls him her “sweet bird.”
If you would like to purchase Sweetbird products, and I highly recommended that you do, you can now purchase them online, at Western Market in Ferndale or North Center Brewing Co. in Northville.
For more on the whereabouts of Sweetbird Kitchen, keep up with the Facebook page. You’ll be glad you did!