Two Old Gals

Downtown Houston got a little sweeter last week.

That’s because a food establishment called Two Old Gals Bakery opened for business Monday.

Owned and operated by Bucyrus resident Sheila Hollenbeck, Two Old Gals features baked goods and a lunch menu, with all selections made entirely from scratch.

“We offer fresh, homemade food,” Hollenbeck said.

Hollenbeck was born and raised in Texas County, and brings 45 years of experience working in the food industry to her new venture. After attending culinary school in Portland, Ore., she co-owned a restaurant for 16 years on the Oregon coast (in Florence, due west of Eugene). Her background also includes working in the food department at Texas County Memorial Hospital, being the food production manager for the VA Hospital at Fort Leonard Wood and working as general manager for the dietary department at Cox Hospital in Springfield.

“I thought I was going to retire, but I don’t think so,” Hollenbeck said. “I love to cook and I love to bake. It’s kind of in my blood.”

After spending years around commercial kitchen equipment, Hollenbeck is using a simpler approach at Two Old Gals.

“My equipment is like what you’d find in a home kitchen,” she said. “I don’t like cooking with commercial ovens, because they dry the food out. I’ve done that too many years. I know.”

Two Old Gals’ lunch menu includes several items that are always available, but Hollenbeck also offers a daily special sandwich and soups will be highlighted when cold temperatures set in during winter. The establishment’s interior features plenty of retro-style décor.

“The ambiance in here isn’t something you’re going to find anywhere else,” Hollenbeck said. “It’s very nostalgic.”

A good portion of the sizable floor space inside the store is dedicated to art and antiques available on a consignment basis.

“I’ll approve all the consignments that come in,” Hollenbeck said. “It will be all nice, high class stuff.”

Hollenbeck said Two Old Gals is off and running, having already been hired to do several large jobs for community companies, clubs, organizations and individuals.

“I’m doing 15 Ninja Turtle cupcakes right now for a birthday party,” she said.

Week one at Two Old Gals included a huge run on cinnamon rolls. Hollenbeck said she moved eight-dozen of them morning after morning.

“We’ll try to make more when we get some help in here,” she said.

Hollenbeck said she loves baking and decorating cakes.

“I’m a nut when it comes to doing cakes,” she said. “And everything – all the decorations – I put on them is edible.”

Regular customers can expect to see a myriad of different baked selections and lunch specials at Two Old Gals, as opposed to the same thing on a scheduled basis.

“I’m a certified chef, but I love to be creative,” Hollenbeck said. “I’m just that way. I really don’t even bake a cake the same way twice. I can duplicate, but I prefer not to.”

Two Old Gals Bakery is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The phone number is 417-967-0111.

“There are a lot of people who have a lot of faith in us,” Hollenbeck said. “We’re in Houston, so I keep my prices where people can keep the business coming. I don’t want to wait around for business; I want it to be steady.

“But so far, the response has been unbelievable and it’s keeping me running keeping product available. In fact, I’ve had people call and say, ‘it’s not good, it’s flippin’ good!’”

…so far, the response has been unbelievable and it’s keeping me running keeping product available. In fact, I’ve had people call and say, ‘it’s not good, it’s flippin’ good!’”

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