Husband and wife duo, Shirl and Julian Taylor, opened Miss Lady’s Bakery and Cafe in February. The business is located at 3653 Offut Rd, in Randallstown, Md. (Photo courtesy of Miss Lady’s Bakery Cafe)

By Megan Sayles,
AFRO Business Writer,

In spite of its name, Miss Lady’s Bakery Cafe isn’t just another source of homemade pastries and baked goods. Shirl and Julian Taylor say it’s also a full-service restaurant with a bar, serving scratch-made meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The Baltimore natives decided to open the brick-and-mortar location after Shirl’s home-based baked goods business outgrew their home. 

Shirl Taylor, affectionately known as “Miss Lady,” was the only baker at the time. While she felt blessed by the high volume of orders, she knew she needed more capacity to run her business.

“I don’t want to let the community down or to let ourselves down in trying to supply what this deserves,” said Shirl Taylor. “I want to teach the community what a bakery cafe looks like.” 

According to Julian Taylor, the name for the bakery cafe is rooted in their Black love story. Back in 1987, when the pair crossed paths, Julian Taylor was interested– but struggled to remember the name of the woman who had caught his eye. Instead, he would greet her with “Hey, Miss lady,” and decades later, a bakery cafe was born. 

Miss Lady’s Bakery Cafe’s menu is inspired by dishes that Julian and Shirl Taylor grew up with. Some of the most popular items include french toast with fried chicken thighs, shrimp and grits and fried catfish.

Gone are the days of Shirl Taylor staying up all night to complete orders, she now has additional bakers and Chef Roshon Martin to help her prepare the scratch-made fare. 

Part of Shirl Taylor’s mission with Miss Lady’s Bakery Cafe is to help eradicate food deserts in Randallstown. 

“We’re trying to stop [the] food desert mentality and [supply] really good food that’s less processed. Whatever you find around here is fried, nothing is fresh,” said Shirl Taylor. “For me, it’s important to make certain that our community learns what healthy eating and what fresh food tastes like. Our palates want everything sugary and sweet– we really don’t realize what flavorful, fresh food tastes like.”

Although Shirl Taylor never thought she’d open a physical space for her bakery business, Julian Taylor knew it would happen eventually. 

“As a kid, I always wanted a place where people could come, have entertainment, listen to music and eat food. It’s just something that I’ve always wanted to do,” said Julian Taylor. 

He and Shirl Taylor want Miss Lady’s Bakery Cafe to be a pillar in the Randallstown community, providing a place for locals to have fun and eat, while giving back to their neighbors. 

They’ve partnered with Union Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Randallstown to donate extra food for the congregation’s food giveaways. 

“We don’t want to throw anything away. There is someone sitting somewhere, and one dinner roll or one cookie would make a difference,” said Julian Taylor. 

“Every Saturday the pastor comes through, and we give him a big box of food. We’re trying to make a difference.” 

The couple is currently in the process of rolling out specials, like matinee movie showings for older adults, jazz brunches with bottomless mimosas and “Summer Blast” Thursdays with DJ Crimson Cookie. 

They hope that Miss Lady’s Bakery Cafe can one day be passed down to their son, Joshua, who currently does social media management for the restaurant.

“The purpose behind this was to make money, that’s why we’re in this business. But, it’s also to secure that generational wealth, so that they can learn that they can do this on their own,” said Shirl Taylor. “They don’t need someone else to pay them, they can make money for themselves.” 

Megan Sayles is a Report for America Corps member.