When Michelle Gayer sees the house-like façade of her new Salty Tart production facility near Lake & Harriet, she can envision patio seating where the parking lot is now. She can imagine a pie shop with café lights and benches.
But for the moment, Gayer said she’s simply taking one day at a time: making the move, expanding into the Minneapolis airport, appearing at the Mill City Farmers Market, and eventually relocating Salty Tart’s retail space within the Midtown Global Market to a kiosk near The Rabbit Hole.
Despite the busyness, Gayer said she’s grateful every day. She fell two years ago while playing broomball, and doctors discovered a tumor and Stage III lung cancer. Her lower right lung was removed and she underwent chemotherapy, radiation, and clinical trials for more than a year.
During that period, Chef Brenda Langton brought over quesadillas for her kids, Chef Shack delivered bone broth, and Salty Tart staffer Anna Berzelius brought blueberry pie. Gayer’s staff visited her at home, brought her checks to sign and conducted business meetings at her bedside.
“To survive lung cancer and for your small business to survive lung cancer is pretty amazing,” Gayer said.
Her current CT scan is clear.
“I have huge cups of gratitude all day long,” she said. “…I could cry right now about it. How grateful and happy I am.”
The kitchen’s move means the Salty Tart will graduate from 400 square feet to 4,000 square feet of space in Common Roots’ former catering hub at 2940 Harriet Ave. The building won’t initially open to the public.
Gayer said she’ll miss the day-to-day interaction with customers, but Salty Tart will keep its presence at the Global Market.
“You’ll still be able to get a slice of cake,” she said.