Like many bakers, Nuha Abuduhair began as a hobbyist. The former pediatric nurse found the results-oriented practice to be a pleasant counterbalance to the occasionally chaotic days of stay-at-home parenting. She took justified pride in her work and began posting images of her exquisite homemade macarons, cupcakes and other delights to Instagram, which led to orders from friends and family and eventually a wider audience. Although Nuha had always dreamed about owning a bakery, after two years the idea began to move closer to reality.
“Once the orders started coming consistently and the pop-ups were being requested frequently, I knew it was time to invest in something larger,” says Nuha. She officially became a professional pâtissière when 17 Berkshire opened its doors in Overton Square this past May. Both Nuha and her customers have been enjoying the vibrant atmosphere of the shop’s location in the area known as “Chimes Square.”
“I love that Overton Square is a walkable location. You can grab lunch, work out, do a bit of shopping — without ever having to move your car,” says Nuha. The name recognition of the historic square is also a perk. “It’s a Memphis landmark, so most Memphians know where it is.”
The visual artistry of 17 Berkshire’s creations is as distinctive as their flavors. Nuha clearly takes an inventive approach to every element of her offerings, from the pastries to the packaging. She finds additional inspiration and opportunity by being in a creative hub like Overton Square.
“I really wanted to be near other artists — like Ballet Memphis, Playhouse on the Square and Hattiloo Theatre,” says Nuha. “I figured our businesses would complement one another. Visitors could grab a treat and chat with friends before or after a show.”
In addition to its trademark macarons and transcendent cakes, 17 Berkshire offers a rotating menu of tarts, cookies, donuts, baklava and even its own chocolate bars. The sparkling, airy store also hosts a full coffee and tea bar that invites guests to sit and savor the freshest new options. The gourmet Sloane teas are also available for sale on the bakery’s website.
Nuha chose the name 17 Berkshire as a nod to her childhood home in Memphis, which reminds her of where her love of baking began and keeps her family top of mind. Her children, ages 5 and 3½, are frequent visitors. She wants the store to be a warm, welcoming retreat that makes everyone feel at home.
“I love seeing all of the customers light up when they walk into the space,” says Nuha. “I mean, who doesn’t get excited when they walk into a bakery?”
While the delicate pastel macarons in flavors from peanut butter & jelly to rose are the shop’s best known and biggest-selling item, Nuha is passionate about introducing new and compelling products. Since she carefully curates the recipes chosen and loves everything she makes, Nuha can’t pick a favorite, but she says the Birthday Cake Entremets — a miniature delicacy with harmonizing flavors and varied textures — has been especially popular.
It has been a whirlwind journey since Nuha began focusing on baking, and she is ready to sit in this moment for a while. “Right now, I want to enjoy the season I’m in,” she says. “It’s been a long road to get here, so I want to take it all in, learn and be grateful.”
But of course, you can’t really expect an entrepreneur to slow down. “The holidays are coming up, and I’m very excited to offer more treats for our customers,” says Nuha. “Who knows what will happen after that. Maybe a baking show one day? I’m open to anything!”
17 Berkshire is located on the south side of Overton Square at 2094 Trimble Place, Memphis, TN 38104. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. To learn more, call (901) 729-7916 or visit 17berkshire.com.
Thank you to Nuha Abuduhair of 17 Berkshire for the images of her gorgeous macarons, cakes and more!
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