Little did she know it at the time, but A.J. Perry was working on a solid Plan B.

Growing up on a farm in Vickery, Ohio, a small town southwest of Sandusky, Perry was a devoted helper in the kitchen. She learned the ropes from her mother, an expert baker who used fresh produce grown in the family garden.

"She made everything from scratch," Perry said.

Now she's using those same techniques -- plus a few of her own -- and dedication to local ingredients at her new store, Sassafras Bakery in downtown Worthington.

Sassafras has taken over 1,400 square feet of space at 657 High St., most recently home to Blue Frost Bakery.

Perry considers it a classic American bakery, where pies are a big deal. Her apple pie, for example, was featured in Food & Wine magazine in 2011.

She also makes cookie sandwiches, such as oatmeal cream pie and "brownie" cookies with mint buttercream in the middle.

On the savory side of the aisle, she offers various flavors of scones, quiche and other items. Granola bars, flourless truffles, cookies, "donut" muffins and such round out the menu.

Perry said special orders are welcome. Recently, a customer requested banana cream pie, which was in the cold case a few days later.

She said she will take advantage of seasonal ingredients. This fall, she plans on baking a fair amount of pumpkin goods, from a bourbon-pumpkin tart to classic pumpkin pie.

Perry, 38, said she worked at an assortment of restaurants in high school but decided she didn't like the hours. So, she enrolled at Bowling Green State University, where she received a bachelor's degree in graphic design.

She moved to Columbus shortly after college, eventually getting a job in the marketing department of Limited Brands, where she worked for 10 years. But the economy led to a layoff in 2007. She immediately returned to her love of baking, making goods for the Gahanna Farmers Market and routinely selling out of merchandise.

She later moved to the Worthington Farmers Market, where she continued her success.

As for the bakery's name, Perry said she loves root beer -- flavored with sassafras -- and plans to start selling her homemade version at the store soon. Meanwhile, Cafe Brioso is roasting a proprietary coffee blend for the bakery, which offers Snowville Creamery's milk and cream to complement the java.

Sassafras is open for breakfast through late-afternoon hours Wednesday through Saturday. For more information, call 614-306-9663.


Bibibop, a fast-casual Korean concept, has opened in the Grandview Heights area.

In the style of Chipotle, customers walk through the line, selecting their ingredients as they go.

They can get a protein, vegetables and rice in a bowl, salad or wrap. Other garnishes include corn, daikon, lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, cheese and one of three sauces -- spicy sriracha, teriyaki or yum yum, a seasoned mayonnaise. No individual dish tops $6.50.

Bibibop, an alternative spelling of Korean bibimbap, a rice dish, is part of locally based Gosh Enterprises, which also owns Charleys Grilled Subs. The restaurant, which seats 50, takes over the former Great Steak & Potato storefront at 1270 W. Fifth Ave.

Ellie Robinson, concept administrator for Bibibop, said the restaurant's target audience is busy 18- to 35-year-olds, who are seeking a quick, healthy meal.

"We want people who want to try something different, people who have graduated from fast food," she said.

Bibibop is open lunch and dinner hours six days a week, closed Sunday. For more information, call 614-652-6820.