At the entrance to the shop, the transparent doors allow someone to already be intrigued by the tasty treats displayed inside. Surrounded by pink wallpaper, as you walk through the door you are immediately hit with the sweet smell of sugar. With trays and trays of pastries, the “Donut Squad Headquarters” is the perfect place for someone with a powerful sweet tooth.
The Westhampton Pastry Shop, located at the intersection of Patterson and Libbie Avenues, has been open since 1952.
A Mr. Bierker, a German native, opened the bakery with his wife. While he ran another bakery on the north side of Richmond, his wife was able to be in charge of the Westhampton Pastry Shop on Patterson. In 1976, Bierker sold the bakery to the Rogers family. Guy “Boots” Rogers, the current baker and owner, grew up with his parents running the bakery. Now Boots is the third generation baker in his family. Diana and “Boots” Rogers have been running the bakery ever since 1990, when Boots’ parents retired. Boots is currently the night baker while his wife, Diana, runs the shop during the day. He is very dedicated to his job and never lets his pastries be second-best. Boots has had no formal training in the culinary field and learned everything from his father growing up at the bakery. He never finished high school and joined the army. In Vietnam, Boots also baked pastries. “It’s his passion!”, said Diana his wife, “He is very old school”.
In June 2012, The Westhampton Pastry Shop was recognized for their doughnuts in an issue of Virginia Living. Greg Weatherford wrote an article called “Don’t Mind if I Doughnut.” In his article, Westhampton Pastry Stop is listed among many successful doughnut shops. Many reviews online rave about their doughnuts; this is not a surprise for loyal locals.
While visiting the bakery, I tried a variety of different pastries at Westhampton. The first was similar to a lobster tail pastry. The flakey, crunchy roll had creamy buttercream in the center covered in confectioners’ sugar. There was a really pleasing contrast between the crispy, sweet bread and the creamy filling. Covered with confectioner’s sugar, this was messy but completely worth the crumbs.
Perfectly sized buttermilk cookies with a dollop of icing are a whole other level compared to the Ukrop’s version. These cute cookies melt in your mouth immediately. The hardest decision was which color icing would be instantly devoured next, the green or pink?
The next pastry I enjoyed was a shortbread cookie with pecans in it. Bite size, this is the perfect sweet treat with the crunch of the nut, also deliciously covered in confectioners sugar.
In my family, this pastry shop is very important. In 1990, my parents bought their wedding cake from Boots and remembered the owners being very welcoming and professional. Just a couple of weeks ago, I got my birthday cake from the shop. My neighbor, Collegiate Upper School Learning Specialist Mrs. Helen Markiewicz, used to bring her father hot cross buns each year on his birthday from the Westhampton Pastry Shop. To this day, Ms. Markiewicz still does this with her sister in memory of her father.
All photos by Eleanor Dillon.