Trisha O’Donoghue of Quincy Bake Shop moved to Chicago when she was 25 in what she calls the “best biggest move of my life.” The Oklahoma City native had been working as a server and bartender at Red Rock Canyon Grill since college, and now that she’s back in OKC, she still thinks of that time as formative for her work ethic.
“They were so strict on standards and specs, and that was important to 18-year-old me,” she says. “It molded me, and taught me the importance of having standards.”
A sociology/chemistry major at the University of Oklahoma, O’Donoghue “stuck with chemistry” when she chose baking over medicine. She and her husband were already planning to move to Chicago, and when a friend convinced her to look into professional training, she enrolled at the French Pastry School in downtown Chicago. The name of her bake shop comes from the train stop – Quincy and Wells – outside the school.
“Being a baker made so much sense for my personality,” O’Donoghue says. “I grew up playing basketball, and I missed being on a team. Working at a restaurant gives you that same sense of being on a team that’s working toward a common purpose. I love the adrenaline, the pace and teamwork, and I like to make people happy through my food and their experience of it.”
Located in the basement of OKC’s Bradford House Hotel, Quincy is a classic French bakery that creates product for retail and wholesale customers. The pastry counter is located inside the hotel restaurant, which is open to the public.
“I love the classics,” O’Donoghue says, discussing her menu. “You’re not likely to find a guava, mango, squid ink, matcha Danish in my pastry case. You’ll find awesome seasonal pastries, great cookies and cinnamon rolls.”
She’s right about the awesome part; it’s not just boasting. While she acknowledges that French pastries and handmade pastries are showing up in OKC now more than ever, there weren’t many options when she returned to the city in 2019. She wanted to introduce local diners to what she’d come to love in Chicago: cardamom buns, galettes, real Danishes, a classic croissant.
The Danishes are perfect examples of O’Donoghue’s skill. Beautiful, flaky layers rich with butter and a scratch filling that, while sweet, is also nicely balanced. Quincy might singlehandedly rescue the reputation of a delicious pastry, the name of which has come to be synonymous with mass produced, overly sweet afterthoughts on “free breakfast” menus at chain hotels. She also makes savory Danishes, and like most of what she does, they’ll be seasonally appropriate.
The cinnamon roll is American style, with cream cheese frosting and a gooey center. The good news is that it’s delicious from the outside to the inside, so there’s no need to fight over the center. Yes, it’s big enough to share.
“About 70 percent of what we’ll feature will be standard, seasonal and classic offerings,” O’Donoghue says. “That allows us room to play, to offer fun one-offers like the tomato galette.”
Quincy sold out quickly every day right after the hotel opened, but O’Donoghue said that has changed. “We have breakfast items all morning, and then non-breakfast in the afternoon. We bake throughout the day. If you want breakfast items, though, the best experience is definitely before noon.”