Since its founding in 2015, Not Just Desserts by Mom has expanded its menu significantly, but the dedication to homemade foods remains intact.
“Everything we make is made from scratch,” Tracy McCrea, owner of Not Just Desserts, says. “That’s one thing that we want people to know: that everything is homemade.”
McCrea put an emphasis on cakes and pies at first, before adding cinnamon rolls and cookies. The restaurant, which originally was located at 10th and Patee streets, moved to its current location at 505 Francis St. in September 2015. And with a bigger space came a bigger menu.
Not Just Desserts has gone on to offer breakfast as well as a limited lunch menu.
“I was raised on a farm and ate a lot of chicken and noodles, roast beef and meatloaf,” McCrea says.
Everything from breakfast bowls and Belgian waffles to a house salad is available. And that home-style cooking inspired McCrea and her co-owner, Brett Dalby, to cook foods that they know their customers will love.
“We don’t really serve anything that we wouldn’t eat ourselves,” Dalby says. “So we know it’s going to be good. A lot of times, the food at ‘Place A’ is no different than the food at ‘Place B’. We wanted to provide something that was more home-style cooking and didn’t taste like everyone else’s.”
McCrea says the biscuits and gravy are a popular menu item, and their tenderloin achieved critical acclaim once local publisher Jay Kerner helped establish St. Joseph as the tenderloin capital of the world. Not Just Desserts was featured as having one of the best tenderloins in the area and has the publisher’s T-shirt available in their store to prove it.
“We were fortunate enough to have him think that (our tenderloins) were one of the best that he’d had,” Dalby says.
McCrea likes the size of the restaurant, saying it complements the menu, which she wants to keep relatively light as far as the number of available items. This allows her and the cooks to make everything from scratch without adding any unnecessary ingredients, which is exactly what her customers have come to expect.
“We have a great, loyal customer base, we really do,” McCrea says. “We’re very fortunate to have that.”
They’ve even had customers from as far as London and Australia, Dalby adds.
McCrea also utilizes social media to support the business, posting specials every day on the restaurant’s Facebook page.
“We’ve got over 2,000 followers and over 100 reviews, and we still maintain a five-star rating,” Dalby says.
He says that they’re currently considering doing dinner twice a month with specialty items that you don’t normally find around town. And it’s those unique ingredients across all of Not Just Dessert’s menu items that make them even more special, according to Dalby and McCrea.
“It’s just like mom or grandma used to make,” Dalby says.