David Williams Of Hooker’s Sweet Treats Talks Tenderloin Evolution And More

Hooker’s Sweet Treats, the Tenderloin's nationally-recognized chocolatier, bakery and cafe, celebrates its fifth anniversary at 442 Hyde this June. We visited the shop’s founder, David "Hooker" Williams, to get a taste for how the cafe's flavor—and the surrounding community—have evolved over the years and what’s on the horizon for the beloved local spot.

The business launched with one salted caramel candy and now offers seven—all boasting sassy names like “The Town S’mhore” and “Happy Ending”. Bread pudding, scones, cookies and coffee are still offered daily, but the newest addition to the menu is Savory Saturday. Brunch specials, such as baked eggs wrapped in prosciutto and frittatas and paired with greens and a scone, are now offered a couple Saturdays each month.


“I just did it one one weekend, and it went off well from the get-go,” Williams said. “I do think there’s demand from locals for a close brunch spot.”

But locating to the Tenderloin was never the master plan. “It was the cheapest neighborhood to set up shop,” Williams explained. “Farm:table was new to the neighborhood, but there wasn’t much on this side. No decent cafe ... People thought I was crazy.”

Williams knew what he was getting into. He settled in the Tenderloin when he first moved to the city 20 years prior, and said returning with the cafe was like “coming full circle”. Living in the neighborhood once again, he has noticed changes in the surrounding community, especially with the people moving in.  

“It’s a younger demographic," Williams said. "Lots of students and service industry workers. The Tenderloin was the last affordable neighborhood, but I don’t think that’s the case anymore.”

As much as he likes the location, Williams noted that running a business and living in the same neighborhood can be overwhelming. “It’s like you can’t escape. It’s 24/7 of the same old same old. And the Tenderloin is a tough neighborhood.”

But, with a strong desire to open a second shop on his home turf, Williams plans to head to his hometown of New Orleans this spring to scout for the right location for a potential Souther outpost.

As for the original location, with its strong community of locals, national online sales and designation as a "must-see" tourist destination thanks to a Cooking Channel feature that continues to air three years later, “It’s nice to be where we are," Williams said. "Five years strong.”

Hooker’s Sweet Treats is open 8am to 4pm Tuesday through Friday to satisfy your sweet tooth, and 10am to 2pm on Saturdays. For updates on Savory Saturday dates and opportunities to taste potential menu additions, keep a close eye on the shop’s Facebook page.

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