Poppa Cakes is actually the creation of Omar's cousin, Danelle, who is a second generation baker. She told him about her idea and he liked the sound of it (and the prospects of being a taste tester) so they opened up shop in the City Center at the space formerly occupied by Brain Freeze six months ago.
The name Poppa Cakes comes from the term 'poppa' that was used in their family as a nickname for a grandfather and great-grandfather. With a rich tradition of cooking and baking within their family that goes back to their Louisiana roots, Poppa Cakes is now providing the local community with a wide array of freshly made baked goods such as pies, cookies, fat rascals, and of course every kind of cake imaginable.
For those who have never had one, a fat rascal is a light, flaky scone. At Poppas they top it with a fresh organic fruit spread and those pastries are good for just about any occasion. They are both proponents of being true to the local community and only use Clover ice cream. "Why send the money anywhere else?" Omar said.
Want to know more about one of our local business owners? I sure did so after peeling my eyes away from the treats behind the counter we sat down with Omar and started talking shop; over a few cookies of course!
What made you decide to start your business here?
We were looking for a good location. This spot is downtown with ample parking and easy for people to get to. Plus we are near the Friday Night Market. This is also a good spot where I can ride my bike to and from work.
Did you always want to open a bakery?
No. I have mainly been into music my whole life. I have been a DJ for 30 years and was recently doing construction work when my cousin called with an interesting proposition for a business.
What kind of DJ/music work did you do?
All kinds ranging from clubs to TV and film work.
What is your favorite type of music?
Hip hop is my favorite, not rap; because there is a difference. But I really love all types of music. You can find a good song in all types of music from big band to R&B. (He confided that he has over 40,000 records in his collection).
What is the one song that gets you on the dance floor?
Oh no I don't dance (chuckle). I spent the time behind the booth. But there are a few great songs like 'Don't stop till you get enough' or 'DMSR'.
Do you have a favorite new artist?
That is a hard question...I really like music that gets into the human experience and not a lot of muscians have done that lately. It would probably be DUST who is a Bay Area artist.
If you weren't doing this what would you be doing?
It would either be retail work or counseling. I would really just like to be helping people in one way or another. I like the idea of making people happy; that is why I was a DJ for so long because you can make people happy with just one song.
If you could have one person alive or dead come into the shop to buy a cake and chat who would it be?
My mother. She passed away seven years ago and it would be wonderful to see her again.
Are you a sports fan?
Yes, I am a diehard Warriors fan, for football I like the Oakland Raiders and for baseball the Oakland A's. I also root for our San Francisco teams, the 49ers and Giants. My first NBA basketball game was watching the Warriors beat the Clippers when I was a kid.
What is your favorite thing about Rohnert Park?
It's not 'The City'. I grew up in and around the Bay Area; here I really like the clean air, open space, and the friendly people.
Favorite activity in or around Sonoma County would be?
I like to fish. I grew up fishing and there are great spots such as down in Sausalito, Bodega Bay, Salt Point, and Lake Roberts too. (They also took part in this year's fishing derby as a sponsor and enjoyed the opportunity to enjoy a nice day with the community.)
It was a pleasure meeting Omar and Danelle. They both have a great attitude and very friendly vibe which makes them a great addition to the 'Friendly City'. Omar's philosophy seems to be one of 'liking the good life' and who doesn't want that!
Would you like to try a 'Fat Rascal' or another one of their delicious treats? Just pop on by and visit them at 392 City Center Drive. They are open Wednesday through Sunday from 12 p.m. until 8 p.m. and there phone number is (707) 722-5404. You can also visit them on the web at PoppaCakes.com or on their Facebook Page.
If you are a local business owner who would like to sit down for a chat and be featured in our 'Getting to Know' column, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.