It's the kind of collaboration that forms the bedrock of business success. Entrepreneurs James and Alice Baker, owners of Elite Catering and its retail restaurant subsidiary, Sunnyside Cafe on Glenwood Avenue in North Minneapolis, determined that their businesses had excess capacity. They had down time for their commercial kitchens which served the restaurant and the catering operations.
It's the kind of collaboration that
forms the bedrock of business success. Entrepreneurs James and Alice Baker, owners of Elite Catering and its retail restaurant
subsidiary, Sunnyside Cafe on Glenwood Avenue in North Minneapolis, determined that their businesses had excess capacity. They had down time for their commercial kitchens which served the restaurant and the catering operations.
Bill Fridge, a native of Chicago, IL, started his career in law enforcement and corporate security as a police officer for five years in Gary, IN. He left that job, moved to Minneapolis, and became Director of Safety and Security for Prudential Financial, here in Twin Cities. His wife and partner in life is Dolores Fridge, former Minnesota State Human Rights Commissioner, and former Associate Vice Chancellor at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU).
But from his days as a young man, Bill Fridge harbored a vision of bringing to market a food product that he believed was divinely inspired. Described as authentic and "down home" dessert, Fridge says his work pays tribute to the "sacred yam" - known in America as the sweet potato.
Modeling the spirit of collaboration that characterizes legendary Black business ingenuity, the Bakers and the Fridges struck a deal that provides first class commercial production facilities at Elite Catering for the creation of Fridge's masterwork, Addie's Sweet Potato Pie.
"It is simply delicious," Fridge said. "We also make a healthy, tasty sweet potato muffin. The original Addie's sweet potato muffin went over so well, we decided to have some fun with it and add different flavors and fruits to it and make a line of sweet potato based muffins. Each one has a unique flavor and they are all as healthy as the original. Along the way we took a detour and picked up a lime, a key lime, to be exact, and made a pie with a hand-made graham cracker crust."
As a boy, Fridge was like most children. He sat in the kitchen with his mother as she baked. He waited for her to let him lick the remaining batter from the mixing bowl. Fridge's mother, like her mother before her, baked her pies using a coffee cup instead of a measuring cup, adding ingredients by memory and taste.
Fridge had only a vague idea of ingredients and measurements of his mother's sweet potato pie. His interest as a child was the final product: the exquisitely delicious pie. There was never a written recipe for this special family treat.
When his mother, father and three siblings died in an auto accident, the then 18-year-old Fridge was more focused on surviving and helping his remaining eight brothers and sisters than preserving family recipes and traditions.
But after many years of combining different ingredients and spices, Fridge was able to reconstruct his mother's sweet potato pie. It was first introduced to family and friends during the holidays. It then made its first public appearance at David Howard's Fish and Seafood Restaurant in Minneapolis in 1991. The pies made their second appearance at the Bill & Jerry's Shrimp Boil, an annual Twin Cities charity event.
In October of 2004, William Fridge decided to go into business full-time, making his mother's sweet potato pies for the masses. He formed Addie's Sweet Secrets, L.L.C., naming the company in honor of his mother. The signature and staple of the company is his Addie's 'down-home' sweet potato pie, as remembered by her son.
Addie's Sweet Secrets pies and muffins are available retail at Eastside Coop Grocery Store, 2552 Central Avenue, and North Country Coop Grocery Store, 1929 5th Avenue S, in Minneapolis. Addie's Key Lime pie is on the menu at Crave Restaurant in the Galleria Shopping Center in Edina and the p