Keith Lee reviewed Ajax bakery forced to move after TikToker’s video


Published May 2, 2024 at 12:54 pm

Biscuits to Baskets keith lee

An Ajax bakery in place for more than 20 years in the owner’s backyard has been forced to move inside following a visit from TikTok foodie Keith Lee.

Lee has been on tour at various locations in the GTA in recent weeks including stops in Scarborough and Biscuits to Baskets, a bakery founded by Suzanne Smith in 2003 at 49 Beatty Rd., was on his agenda April 6.

Over the years, Smith grew her home-based business from a one-woman operation into a family affair which now employs her husband, son and mother. They have since become renowned for their wide selection of handmade confections including its most popular chocolate barks, caramel apples, and sponge toffees.

The shop also serves cake slices and brownies in various flavours such as M and M’s, Oreos, and peanut butter and jelly. They also serve seasonal goodies like white chocolate-dipped strawberries tossed in coconut or Skor chocolate bits. Situated in a separate building in the Smith’s backyard, the coffee shop offers a cozy, homey atmosphere.

When Lee visited last month, he was impressed with the Korean sponge toffee latte (which he rated 8/10) despite not being much of a coffee drinker himself. He also enjoyed a box of cake slices (rated 7/10).

However, he saved his most glowing comments for the Smiths themselves saying their customer service was “over the top. Some of the best customer service I’ve ever experienced.”

He noted in the video that he doesn’t usually rate backyard businesses in case they later become overwhelmed by his 16.2 million TikTok followers. However, he was intrigued by another review and felt he had to try it.

@keith_lee125 Biscuits & Baskets taste test 💕 would you try it 💕 #foodcritic @mixinthe6ix ♬ original sound – Keith Lee

Lee’s prediction proved accurate as the backyard business was flooded with customers after his visit. The following day, Biscuits to Baskets reported a huge influx of people. “Our first and main priority is the safety of our neighbourhood, with the schools in the area and possible congestion of traffic during the week, we want to make sure that everyone is safe,” they wrote on Facebook.

They also began closing on Fridays to prepare enough food for the new customers. Durham Region Tourism also highlighted the business in the days following Lee’s visit along with a few other local mom-and-pop shops.

However, while Lee, the Region, and a host of new customers were impressed, it seems the Town of Ajax was not. Their newfound attention brought the long arm of the by-law officer to their door.

The town visited Biscuits to Baskets to inform them they could not operate out of the backyard as the building is separate from the main house. “This flew right under our radar and had not been addressed to us until now,” Smith wrote online.

The business is Dinesafe and Food Safety inspected and followed all protocols to the “best of our knowledge.” While they served out of the house for more than 20 years, they expanded into the exterior building five years back to create a roomier pick-up area.

However,  the pick-up location is able to move to the front of the house and operate from there. As such, the shop’s selection will remain the same, and they will keep the same house at the same address.

They noted their business had “profoundly exploded” since Lee’s visit and hoped to expand in future. “Keith’s visit was a blessing and has definitely given us a push in the right direction but we’re still far away from funding anything bigger than what we have now.”

They plan to expand into a commercial space in Ajax by this fall.

  1. Biscuits and Baskets
indurham's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising