Tyler Houston is the head baker and owner of Bowtie Bakery in Concord, located in the North Branch Center just off the heavily trafficked Branchview Drive. Don’t let the tattoos fool you, Tyler is as sweet as the confections coming out of his busy shop. Although most of the items offered from Bowtie Bakery are cupcakes, they also bake brownies, make cupcake shakes during the hot months and whip up a select few other pastry items.
Tyler attended Johnson & Wales University in the Queen City and graduated with a Culinary Arts degree. He didn’t enjoy baking growing up or during the classes he took in college. He started to dip his toes into the water when he’d bake for study group. It wasn’t until his mom got married that he delved into baking and things really took off. Tyler says, “After my mom’s wedding, friends and family started to ask me to make cakes for their special events. At the time, I was running a full service catering company. It wasn’t long before the demand for baked goods became so great I focused on just offering bakery items.” Through word of mouth about a delicious product, Tyler soon developed a sweet following.
Tyler soon took over a small, family-run bakery that offered many pastries with few cupcakes, brownies or cookies. Over time, the cupcake craze and demand grew, making the transition over to being a specialty cupcake shop a no-brainer. Tyler bought the bakery equipment and the space to officially open Bowtie Bakery in January 2013. Bowtie Bakery has 12 regular daily favorite cupcake flavors throughout the year including:
- Sun Drop/Cherry Lemon
- Sun Drop Pound Cake
- Banana Pudding
- Lemon Raspberry
- Triple Chocolate
- Cookies & Cream
- Salted Caramel Cheesecake
- Strawberry Lemonade
- Red Velvet
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
- Turtle and Orange Dreamsicle
The monthly specials rotate with the seasons and keep things interesting for regular Bowtie Bakery goers. Some of my favorites from the seasonal offerings include: Cheerwine, S’Mores, Blueberry Lemon, Egg Nog and Thin Mint.
Tyler even has a bowl where customers can submit creative cupcake ideas to be featured for a week at the bakery. The lucky winner not only gets their cupcakes made for the public, but also takes home a dozen of their custom flavor to enjoy.
Tyler says, “This is just a fun way to keep things interesting around the shop. The customers get so enthusiastic with their ideas and it’s a way for us to keep them interested in coming back to visit us, too.” However, there is some limit to just how “out there” Bowtie Bakery can get with their flavors. Tyler continues, “We do live in the south and this area can be a bit conservative. Our special features let us step outside the box just enough to where our customers still feel comfortable.”
Bowtie Bakery is open regularly for retail customers in addition to taking custom orders for wedding cakes or other special events. Bowtie Bakery also offers a variety of entertaining and educational kids classes during the summer and holiday time. This is the fourth year they’ve offered classes and it has a bit of sentimental value to Tyler.
He says, “I have some kids in my class this year that were at our first baking class four years ago. It’s like watching my kids grow up as they learn more each year. It’s awesome to see them develop their skills. One of the students is even interested in pursuing baking in college. It’s a neat feeling to be part of his discovery of the possibilities of baking and cooking.”
I’m lucky to have known Tyler for several years and it’s a cool feeling to see your friend flourish and thrive in such an unforgiving industry. Whether you live in Concord or Charlotte, it’s a quick drive over to Bowtie Bakery. You won’t be disappointed supporting this local business that has great cupcakes served up with a smile. Check out their Facebook or Instagram accounts for more information and a menu of the cupcakes available at the shop.
Full disclosure- All cupcakes were comped.
Tessa Nguyen is a chef and registered dietitian working in the Triangle area. She is an alumna of Johnson & Wales University and Meredith College. When Tessa isn’t traveling and discovering new food spots, she teaches culinary nutrition cooking classes at Duke University and works as a private chef for clients in the health and wellness industry. You can follow her on Instagram or Twitter.