Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack…and cheesecake?

Local small business baker makes the cut at Target Field

By Kevyn Burger
Wed, 2017-04-05 10:35

It's batter up for a local food entrepreneur who is selling slices of her artisan cheesecake in the exclusive clubs at Target Field as the Twins season opens.

“We’re a small production baker with small profit margins. To have this is a very big deal for us,” says Tami Cabrera, owner of Muddy Paws Cheesecake.

Slices of the rich, dense cheesecake that Cabrera hand crafts in her St Louis Park commercial kitchen are on the menu and selling in the high-end Legends Club and the Champion Club, available to members as a dessert option.

“People recognize the value of supporting local brands and businesses. We know that they will buy more for that reason,” adds Cabrera, who uses local and natural ingredients in her cheesecakes. “They know our quality and our reputation.”

Target Field relies on a number of Twin Cities food and beverage providers for ball park concessions. Twins fans can cheer on the team while chowing on selections from local purveyors including Murray’s, Pizza Luce, Red Cow, Izzy’s and sipping selections from local brewers that include Surly, Summit, Fulton and Grain Belt Brewing.

Cabrera grew up in the hospitality business. Her parents operated two Wisconsin hotels that included three restaurants, and she says she came of age as a “food brat.” She arrived in Minnesota in 1991 armed with a journalism and advertising degree and went to work in marketing. She started making cheesecakes for company meetings and ultimately answered the lure of the bakery business; in 1994 she left her job and began her cheesecake business in a rental kitchen in St. Paul.

Today Cabrera employs three people and several additional contractors, turning out some 400 baked-from-scratch cheesecakes every week.

The bulk of Cabrera’s business is in catering weddings, special events and corporate functions. She also wholesales cheesecakes and runs a retail counter at her St. Louis Park bakery.

She says she’s not sure what to expect with the deal with Target Field, but she’s excited about her opportunity to break into the big leagues.

As a devoted Twins fan, she’s also looking forward to spending time at the field.

“Having our name on the menu will be great for our visibility,” Cabrera says. “This is a field of dreams moment for us.”