In Riverdale’s Le Fantome Food Hall and Bar, U.S. Rep. Glenn Ivey (D- Maryland) awarded business owner Kareem Queeman, also known as “Mr. Bake,” a congressional citation.
Mr. Bake, both the name of his business and Queeman’s nickname, moved to Prince George’s County from New York and has been an award-winning chef for years. He is a semi-finalist for the 2023 James Beard Award, an honor bestowed upon highly-lauded chefs and restaurateurs.
“It’s powerful to be recognized for the work that I’ve not only done in the community, but the work I’ve done on me to stand the path when some many times I wanted to give up,” Queeman said. “This shows me our industry is ready for change and I’m happy to be a part of that change.”
As both a Black man and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, he is a proud representative of changes in the restaurant industry.
He has also been seen on numerous cooking shows, including in a pastry challenge competing with Bobby Flay in season 26, episode 10 of the “Nightmare Before Pastry.”
Congressman Ivey enjoyed a chocolate cupcake with sprinkles, a delight, he said he purposely skipped breakfast for.
“This is exactly the kind of business we want here. They’re striving, they’re successful, and are doing good in our community,” Ivey said during the ceremony.
What’s Cooking at Mr. Bake?
Mr. Bake’s menu consists of recipes inspired by family and Southern nostalgic classics, including red velvet cake, sweet potato cake and banana pudding. His aunt’s banana pudding recipe won him his first award. In addition, each month, Mr. Bake offers a variety of different cupcake flavors.
“I’m building out the menu so the world can see what we have,” Queeman said at a press conference held at his restaurant. The restaurant is also looking to add more pudding flavors, such as oreo and red velvet, along with adding assorted cookies and mini pies.
Queeman is not only focused on his business: he is also looking forward to teaching others how to bake and growing nonprofits in Prince George’s County.
He is ecstatic about future opportunities to grow local entrepreneurship– “turning survival mode to thriving mode,”– as he put it.
While Riverdale has been Mr. Bake’s home location for the past six months, those with a sweet tooth can also buy his red velvet cake and banana pudding at Georgia Brown’s in Washington, D.C. Queeman’s cake slices are available at The Scoop Ice Cream and his award-winning sweet potato cake donuts are sold at a speakeasy located at 1600 T Street NW..
What’s Next for Mr. Bake?
The entrepreneur hopes to retail his products at supermarkets and cafe shelves next.
“We also want to partner with more restaurants, cafés ad bars in the area,” said Vicki Holcomb, a a public relations executive who works with Mr. Bake.