New owner of Charlie’s Bakery & Creamery celebrates business’ 50 years in Orlando

Tricia Hage took over Charlie’s on Sept. 16

Charlie's Bakery & Creamery at 3213 Curry Ford Road in Orlando (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

ORLANDO, Fla.Charlie’s Bakery & Creamery, formerly just Charlie’s Bakery, has been a part of the Orlando food landscape for more than 50 years and the new owner is looking to celebrate that milestone.

Tricia Hage took over Charlie’s — located at 3213 Curry Ford Road — on Sept. 16, purchasing the bakery from Gary Hawks, the son of the founder Charlie Hawks.

“I grew up in the area,” Hage said. “My husband used to come here as a kid and we both love desserts and I’ve always been like one of the people that always made desserts. I was gonna open my own ice cream store and have like a few of the items that I love to make and Charlie’s Bakery came up for sale. It was just an opportunity I couldn’t resist.”

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Hage and her husband did not start out in the baking or ice cream business. They didn’t have food service experience before they scooped up Charlie’s.

“My husband and I have been together since I was 17 — got married when I was 20 — and we’ve always been self-employed,” Hage said. “When I married him, the first business we opened was lawn maintenance. We mowed grass. We built it to a good size. We sold (that business) and we got into construction. We built houses, I have a broker’s license. He would build them I would sell them. Then the market turned and we went into construction but in a different way. We were doing pavers — the driveway pavers.”

The pair purchased Atlantic Stonework in 2013. Hage was handling sales and design before striking out on her own.

“I just wasn’t happy because — it’s construction,” she said with a laugh. “I got out and I was like, ‘I really want to open a dessert shop’ and that’s basically how it started.”

Some of the baked goods offered at Charlie's Bakery & Creamery (Mates)

Hage took over Charlie’s some time thereafter. She was trained by Hawks himself for about a month before she fully took the reins.

She has made some significant changes to the bakery, such as adding a creamery to churn out house-made ice cream.

“We completely did a whole interior redesign — new tile, new display cabinets, you know, that type of stuff. So, if you walked in this month versus December, it would be a drastic change.”

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Despite the new look and the addition of ice cream, a big portion of the menu has stayed the same.

“I have a (sign) that says a Charlie’s original is a recipe that has not been altered,” she said. “If you see the hat on the sign of the item that you’re gonna buy — whether it’s a Napolean or an eclair — it means that that item has not been changed.”

Hage has pared down the menu some from where Hawks had it.

“It’s unbelievable if you compared our menu to anyone else’s — I mean, he had like 300 plus items on his menu,” she said. “I cut it down to like 200.”

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She also added some of her own family’s recipes to the mix.

Now, with her own personal stamp on the business, Hage is looking to celebrate the past by marking Charlie’s 50 years in business. The actual 50 year anniversary of Charlie’s opening happened in October, but with the fresh change in management, Hage wasn’t ready to give it the pomp such a milestone deserves.

“We’re calling it ‘Show your love for Charlie’s,’” Hage said. You’ll get to decorate your own heart-shaped sugar cookie — and we have them pre-packaged so you can do it there if you’re comfortable. If you’re not, you can take your little heart sugar cookie home and decorate it at home. We’re gonna have a band and we’re gonna have a face painter, cotton candy and obviously, all of our treats inside our bakery.”

The celebration is set for noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Patricia Hage is getting ready to swap out the signage on the front of Charlie's (Mates)

Hage wants people to know that even though there is a new look and a new owner at Charlie’s, it is still largely the same neighborhood bakery the community has come to know and love.

“I’m not gonna change the things that made Charlie’s famous,” she said. “Just because you update a facility doesn’t mean that you’re erasing everything that (Hawks) did. It just says ‘This is the fresh face on the old.’ I really just love that it’s so established because it has such a sense of history and that’s part of why I love it and why I decided to take this leap of faith. It was a pretty big leap to go from a construction background to you know, being a full-time owner of a bakery and creamery.”



About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.