ORLANDO, Fla. – Ashley D’Acunto and her husband Israel Erazo have not slowed down since they first opened Phat Ash Bakes three years ago in the middle of the pandemic.
In March 2022, the pair moved into their brick-and-mortar bakery, 912 N. Mills Ave., and since then have partnered with Foxtail Coffee Co.
“We are in one location right now,” D’Acunto said. “It’s the foxtail coffee that’s on East Colonial Drive, and they have — it’s called the Cookie Phactory by Phat Ash Bakes. So it’s not under our exact name, but you’ll see the cookies right when you walk in.”
The couple has also partnered with several other restaurants and coffee shops around Central Florida, including Goodfellas in DeBary, Propagate Social House in Apopka and Grilled Cheezus, which the pair share a building with.
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It is quite an impressive footprint for the couple considering they started selling their cookies out of their home kitchen on Instagram.
“I was working at Lululemon at the time, and they closed the store because of COVID,” D’Acunto said. “And then I realized that I could really focus on (baking). And (Erazo) helped me build it into a business. But we started out of our apartment, and then expanded into a rental commercial kitchen, or Commissary Kitchen, that we were sharing with other businesses, and then we outgrew that and (Erazo) found a building downtown that we were able to buy and move our whole operation in there.”
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The space in Orlando’s trendy Mills 50 neighborhood has also allowed the pair to bring people into their shop to experience their brand of cookie baking firsthand. The couple call the experience “Bake Nights.”
“You come in, we give you dough, and we tell you how we make cookies,” D’Acunto said. “But, it’s your cookie journey. So you could do whatever you want. No rules.”
The student bakers are given a range of 15 to 20 mix-ins for their dough, along with different fillings and toppings they can use to mix and match to make their own custom cookies. Customers can also bring their own ingredients as well, which has led to some inspiration for the couple.
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“The last one was this S’mOreo Crunch. People were putting just marshmallows and Oreos together a lot and it looked awesome when it came out of the oven because it was like, melty and gooey and just delicious. So we kind of added onto that flavor and we made our own version of that,” D’Acunto said.
On the latest episode of Florida Foodie, D’Acunto and Erazo talk more about the 250 flavors of cookies to offer. The pair also talk about their charitable work and some of the custom cookie options they offer.
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Florida Foodie is a podcast from WKMG and Graham Media that takes a closer look at what we eat, how we eat it and the impact that has on us here in Florida and for everyone, everywhere. Find new episodes on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you download your favorite podcasts.
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