Love of good food is foundation for Plates by Post

by Wendy Turrell

Liz Post and Jason Smith have rapidly grown their baking passion from an Instagram site, to a licensed home bakery, to their new bakery and café in the former Richfield Gourmet Café. After a soft launch in May, they plan to build on their offerings of fresh-baked pastries, specialty coffee drinks, and simple sandwiches. Smith said their goal is “to be a fully functional bakery, café and catering business for small events.”

The couple, both Revere graduates, shares a love of good food that started in their teens. Post learned about raising natural foods when she worked for Brunty Farms in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and tended the farm’s booth at the Countryside Conservancy farmers’ market.  In 2018 she became the Bruntys’ marketing and purchasing manager for their premium butcher shop, The Farmer’s Rail.

Post also worked for Roy Badwan, the previous owner of the Richfield Gourmet Café, where she learned to be a barista while preparing for the daily lunch rush.

“I was also fortunate that my mom has always been a fantastic home chef,” Post added. She taught her daughter culinary skills from a young age. “Growing up eating great food gave me high standards from the get-go.”

Smith worked at Lannings Restaurant in Bath throughout high school and college. “I would always pay close attention to the chefs, and took a keen interest in the small details that would go into every dish,” he said.

In 2019 Post and Smith moved to Cleveland, not far from the legendary West Side Market. “The world of food was all around us, and we did not hesitate to dive right in,” Post remembered. She became enamored with cooking shows, especially the Great British Baking Show, and was obsessed with watching baking videos on YouTube.

“I bought my first hand-mixer, and I spent nearly every free night and weekend making something new,” she added.  Post would have three or four baking projects going at the same time, while subscribing to YouTube University.

Post began to showcase her own baking creations @platesbypost on Instagram. Then came the pandemic of 2020. She left her job at The Farmer’s Rail, and her baking obsession became a way to escape from the COVID-19 chaos. One of her Instagram followers asked her to cater an office breakfast.

 “Jason and I realized that we could potentially turn this Instagram page into a job,” she said after that success.

They moved back to West Akron in November 2020 and licensed their kitchen as a home bakery.

Smith took a side job as a night baker with Breads of Fairlawn. “I spent months studying their processes and learning the ins and outs of the bread/pastry world,” he said. He began to make some of Post’s most popular recipes, to give her more time to create new ones.

At The Farmer’s Rail, Post met baking expert Kathy Lehr, who had trained under French and American pastry masters, and had herself trained chefs at Vaccarro’s Trattoria in Bath and Café Arnone in Fairlawn. Post said Lehr became a baking mentor and is assisting in the opening of the café and bakery.

Plates by Post at 4174 Wheatley Road will offer a limited breakfast and lunch menu, until they can hire and train employees. Currently they are catering breakfast items like scones, bagels, muffins and pastries, with bulk coffee for morning meetings. Lunch catering will be added.

 “A permanent menu will take some time,” Post explained. “We look forward to community feedback on our offerings and will customize our menu based off that, along with the seasonally, locally sourced ingredients that are available.”

Café hours are 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays. They plan to add Saturday hours once the business is more established. ∞