After a failed attempt in the restaurant business more than three decades ago and many other years experience on top of that, Patti Soskin didn’t imagine she’d be where she is today.
Now, the owner of popular yum! Kitchen and Bakery is preparing to open a fourth location in Woodbury this summer.
“It’s so exciting,” Soskin says of the restaurant’s growing success. “It’s hard to believe it’s been 17 years since this all started.”
Soskin credits much of the company’s accomplishments to her dedicated team of employees; many have been with yum! from the beginning. “It’s really great to be able to provide opportunities for people to grow in the company,” she says. “We’re like a family. We take care of each other.”
With an extensive menu and growing fan base, readers might wonder: Where did the idea for this restaurant come from? It starts with a little girl’s passion in the kitchen.
Soskin says she knew early on she wanted to be in the restaurant business. “When I was a little girl, everybody else was playing house, and I played restaurant,” she says.
Growing up, she hosted and waited tables at many different restaurants over the years. When she was 28 years old, she took a leap of faith and opened her own restaurant, Patti’s.
“And I failed,” she says, adding she never thought it was something she’d try again. Wanting to stay in the business, Soskin worked in the food service department at Dayton’s.
Then, a new path came calling. “After Dayton’s, I was going to be a full-time mom,” she says. “I have three kids, and I quit my job.” The stay-at-home venture didn’t last long, if at all.
While grocery shopping, Soskin connected with Phil Roberts, owner of Parasole Restaurant Holdings and one of her former employers. Roberts encouraged Soskin to do consulting work with him. “I had quit my job on Friday, and by Monday, I was doing consulting work,” she says. “I did that for years.”
A New Chapter
In 2005, one of Soskin’s friends bought a building in St. Louis Park and suggested she open a restaurant there. Memories of Patti’s came flooding back, and Soskin recalls the words “absolutely not” being her response.
“I loved my life. Everything was perfect, and I didn’t want to do that,” she says. But she agreed to look at the building anyway.
Once inside the building, a vision came to life, and Soskin decided to open a restaurant. She hired a consulting firm to help name the new restaurant, but none of the four pages of options resonated with her.
“In the process of figuring out what we were going to do, one of my girlfriends gave me a cookbook,” she recalls. “She signed it, ‘yum!,’ and I knew that was it.”
From the Start
Soskin says yum! Kitchen and Bakery was a win from the start. Even with limited staff at the beginning, Soskin knew she had struck success. “My mom and dad were [helping out] here, my sisters were working here … every family member I had, had a task,” she says.
And while she says she was confident in what yum! had to offer, Soskin remained humble. “I felt right away it was a hit, but I never take it for granted,” she says.
Fortunately, yum! Kitchen and Bakery continued to grow in its success. In 2015, the restaurant established a second location in Minnetonka.
After the Minnetonka restaurant opened, Soskin’s husband, Robbie, joined the business venture. With him on board, the couple made the decision to open a third restaurant in St. Paul. “I grew up in St. Paul and felt comfortable with the area,” Soskin says. “We opened that restaurant last year.”
Go for Four
The St. Louis Park and Minnetonka locations serve as sister restaurants, and Soskin realized St. Paul needed one, too.
“Woodbury seemed like the next logical spot for us,” she says, adding the goal is to have it open in July. “When we started thinking about where to go next, Woodbury stood out because it’s a fantastic city. The city has been so welcoming and gracious to us … We’re really excited to bring yum! here.”
Soskin says the building, which was previously home to a buffet, will be completely gutted and renovated to have the traditional yum! look. For Woodbury residents who have never experienced what yum! Kitchen and Bakery has to offer, Soskin offered some insight.
“Everything is made from scratch,” she says. When yum! closes at night, the talented staff begins baking bread for the next morning. Once that is complete, pastries are next on the list. That includes cakes, muffins, scones, cinnamon caramel pull-a-parts and more.
“We put a lot of love into everything right here in our own kitchens,” Soskin says. “The smells, the feels and the control over what the product looks like works well for us. And we know the product is fresh.”
A Family Feel
Soskin says as preparations continue to open the Woodbury location, the yum! Kitchen and Bakery team is excited to become part of the community.
“A few of our managers coming to the Woodbury location have been with us all 17 years,” Soskin says. “They have a lot of experience and knowledge coming with them.”
The owner says the yum! staff take care of each other and customers, too.
“Food is the best commodity in the whole world,” Soskin says. “I love what I do, I love the people I work with and I love our guests. I feel very blessed.”