: | The French Pastry School


Sweet: Bakery headed for downtown Chaska will serve pastries and ice cream
Alex Chhith/ Chaska Herald |
August 25, 2017

Andy Mooney always wanted to work closer to his home in Carver, while maintaining his culinary skills.

His dream will be close to complete this fall, roughly scheduled for October, when his shop Red Bench Bakery is set to open.

Mooney, originally from Woodbury, graduated from a French pastry school in Chicago and has been in the restaurant industry for over 20 years. He plans on selling croissants, danishes, lunch sandwiches, coffee and hopefully in the future ice cream at 500 North Chestnut Street.

The site happens to be where the former 125-year-old Chaska Bakery operated out of before it closed its doors in 2009. Since renovating the building, Mooney has learned a lot more about the old company. He determined that an old window sill inside the building was once an exterior wall, before the building expanded.

 “I had no idea it had so much history,” he said.

Mooney isn’t quite sure what he’ll do with the upstairs apartment and basement of the building just yet, but for now he is in the process of stripping down and renovating the interior.

Opening a bakery in downtown Chaska just made sense, Mooney said. In addition to being close to home where he lives with his wife Kjirsten Mooney, his 7-year-old daughter and 4-year-old twin sons, there’s not a lot of local bakeries in or close to Chaska. Chaska’s last bakery, which was also located in the building, closed in 2009. There is a Mexican bakery, El Paisano Bakery, in City Square Center.

“We just don’t have enough,” Mooney said. After he talked about the idea of opening a bakery in town with Kjirsten, she agreed. “We think this is the time. It’s been my dream forever.”

For Mooney, opening his own eatery has been a lifelong dream. Most recently, he worked with pastries at the JW Marriott at the Mall of America in Bloomington. Mooney has been strictly working with pastries for over 10 years and has been in the restaurant business for over 20 years.

His career in working in restaurants started when he was a child and his mother worked at a restaurant in Oakdale called Toby’s on the Lake, he said. There Mooney would help out cleaning dishes, making salads and helping her bake.

“I knew I would always be in the culinary industry,” he said.