A pair of new bakeries and dine-in restaurants add to the selection of sweet treats and hot meals available in Columbia County.
At Delightful Bites Cakery, owner Sharon Hutko makes sure customers are greeted with cupcakes, freshly baked cookies and cake pops when they enter her store.
“For walk-in customers, we have the best gourmet cupcakes you can get in town,” said Hutko, who has been a part-time caterer for 17 years.
Hutko also makes custom cakes and offers catering services for weddings and other events.
The bakery, open Tuesday through Saturday, is in the former Cake Factory in Columbia Plaza across from Davis Road.
After working six years for Stevens Creek Church, Hutko said she felt it was time to follow her passion.
“I didn’t go to school for this,” she said. “It’s just something that’s kind of inside.”
Sweet Treats Bakery in Liberty Square across from the Evans Walmart is another store offering delectable goodies.
“The neat thing here is I bake daily, and I bake fresh,” said owner Bahia Rassekh, who has been baking for 13 years.
Rassekh, a native of Brazil, said she bakes breads, cakes, cookies, chocolates, brownies and cinnamon rolls. She also makes a unique dish, Brazilian flan, and whips up her own icing and cremes.
Rassekh said she grew up watching her mother in the kitchen.
“I was baking all the time with my mother,” said Rassekh, who attended culinary schools in Brazil and Colombia. “I was always in the kitchen.”
The bakery, Rassekh’s first business venture, is open Monday through Saturday in the former Simply Sweet location.
Also coming soon to Liberty Square is Cali’s Grille, opening in the former Cowabunga Grill location.
Javier and Irma Lieras, natives of San Diego, are bringing a taste of Southern California to Evans.
The casual restaurant will offer everything from ribs, hamburgers and chicken strips to soups and salads. Cali’s will also take carry-out orders.
Irma Lieras said she and her husband enjoy entertaining guests and want to provide a relaxing, comfortable atmosphere at Cali’s.
“You don’t just go in there as a customer, you come out as family,” she said.
The couple hope to open the restaurant in March.
Just down the street in Evans, Papa N Sons owner Dino Dakuras is selling his Greek-style restaurant to spend more time with his family.
The restaurant opened as Dino’s Chicago Express in 2000 on Furys Ferry Road before becoming a franchise in 2010. An Evans location was added on Washington Road, but the Furys Ferry restaurant closed in 2011.
On Columbia Road near Grovetown, Angie’s Steak and Seafood opened a third location in what was formerly Willie Sue’s. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Sunday.
For a less traditional dining experience, an Augusta couple is introducing a meals on wheels concept.
The Brown Bag, operated by Carole and Enrique Romero, will prepare a wide range of cuisine on a 26-foot truck.
Some items featured on the menu are hot dogs, beef or chicken sliders, sweet potato fries and seafood.
They plan to offer meals at area events and for employees on their food breaks.