Trolley Stop Bakery

Making the world happier once cookie at a time!

Open the door to Trolley Stop Bakery and you are transported back to a time gone by…it is as if you have walked into an old-fashioned bakery. Diane Wood, owner, baker, mentor, chief problem solver greets you with a huge welcoming smile, wearing a pink apron covered in sugar and flour, eyes sparkling, even if she has been baking since 3am.

If there ever was a throw-back to bakeries, it is Trolley Stop Bakery. The floors are red and white checked, the case is full of cakes, puddings, cookies, cinnamon rolls, maroons, gooey butter cakes, Belgian-street food waffles (one bite and you are hooked) and brownies (just to name a few!) as well as gluten-free selections. Being visual, I love looking at the gorgeous treats. This salted caramel chocolate chip bar is a taste of Heaven.

The bakery has a few seats and a window ledge, and the smell is what I imagine Heaven would be. Diane plans to have chairs outside very soon. And it’s in her plans to serve “Coffee and Pastries” on the weekends. A destination bakery!

I am a cookie monster. Ask anyone who knows me. I love chocolate and ice cream AND… I will go out of my way, including taking a train uptown in NYC just for a chocolate chip cookie (ask my sister).

So, when I was introduced to this bakery via a chocolate chip cookie, I was blown away. I had no idea the bakery even existed and had to check it out for myself.

Walking in on a Friday morning, Diane greeted me with that sweet smile. I explained that I had actually tried the cookies and was interested in her story. Oh, and her cookie was one of the best I have ever had! The cookie is soft, yet solid, has heft but tastes light. And each bite is delicious. The best ratio of chocolate to cookie dough (yes, I am a cookie lover!).

Diane’s goal with Trolley Stop Bakery was to bake her artisanal small batch cookies and other goodies as well as maintain the co-op mentality of the previous bakery. The bakery is a co-op with other bakers renting space and baking on-site. They all maintain their own businesses, selling baked goods out of Trolley Stop Bakery.

Diane was happy to tell me more about her baking history. And it started as most stories do, baking with a loved one. It reminded me of baking with my kids:  birthday cookies and chocolate chip cookie bars. Wow, we baked a lot!

Baking with her grandmother, Diane remembers sweet times. She tells me her grandmother used live yeast from the brewery where her grandfather worked. As well as baked in beer cans, the cans of which she still possesses!

In fact, Diane continues to use live yeast which makes the baked goods even tastier. The other bakers in the co-op now use live yeast as well. As a baker myself (banana bread anyone?!), I understood how this could change the consistency and taste. I hadn’t ever thought about using live yeast. That’s part of Diane’s charm. Brainstorming additional ways to make something work.

She comes to the bakery world with the experience of running her own IT company for thirty years. She has a brain that can trouble shoot mechanically (she redesigned a “sheeter”) and loves new ideas.

One of eight siblings, Diane has always been a problem solver. She began working young developing processes for phone systems before forming the IT company with her husband Mike.

“I came up with an idea for servicing insurance premium finance companies and built a software system around that idea. That idea created a new industry in the service market.” After thirty years, she retired and within three she was ready to do something new.

About this time, her daughter was getting married at the World’s Fair Pavilion in Forest Park. Her daughter requested her mom’s yummy chocolate chip cookies as a guest gift. While her kids were growing up, Diane found the kids loved these warm gooey cookies and over time perfected the recipe. The kids would look at the bottom of the cookies on the cooling racks for the deepest “grooves” (trolley tracks) which they told her meant the gooey-ist cookies!

Diane made 600 cookies which almost melted at the wedding! The cookies were so popular Diane and her daughter started Trolley Track Cookie Company. After baking for six months, her daughter decided she wanted to practice law and Diane decided to make the world better one baked good at a time.

She knew about the bakery in this same spot and mentioned to the owner she would like to buy the bakery if he decided to retire. He told her when the lease was up in three years, he would consider it.

Two weeks later, he reached out and within a month in December 2021, Diane owned Trolley Stop Bakery. The other bakers including Lefty’s’ Bagels, The Tipsy Goat, Delectable Dough, Swirly Girly Bakes, Broyt Baking Company, Mama Boogies and Gooey Louie were already part of the co-op. Diane wanted to keep the co-op going. “I wanted a place where bakers and companies could bake and sell their goods and it’s turned into a thriving community. We’ve become friends and I enjoy working with all of the bakers. They have free reign of our kitchen and can come in and bake however much they want.” Looking around it is a baker’s dream kitchen.

Diane is also quick to point out that in terms of volume, baking together, the Trolley Stop Bakery can produce quite a lot of cookies, brownies, and cakes! More than any one bakery could offer on their own. And it gives Diane a chance to mentor and teach which she loves; She is gentle and kind and laughs easily. Most importantly, she wants each baker to succeed.

And they are.

Diane and the bakers also offer gluten-free options. And if asked, Diane will work with you on a gluten-free recipe as well as create a recipe for you!

Walking in and talking with Diane or her husband who often staffs the counter, “He loves to tell customers about the Baker’s and their products and the concept of the bakery. He is building his own following,” you can feel the happy, sugar-filled energy. I have many happy places- Trolley Stop Bakery has become one of them! Stop in and take a look. You will leave with a smile, possibly more than you went in to purchase and a good feeling that Diane and the bakers can indeed make the world a better place…one cookie at a time.

Recently Diane provided yummy treats for a nonprofit gala. The cookies were gorgeous to look at and tasted like wedding cake!

In Diane’s words, “I LOVE what I do, and it is exciting when people appreciate your product. In addition to baking, the other thing I find that is so gratifying is meeting great people like you.  People that love life and everything it has to offer and enjoy being around like-minded people. I find it so interesting how friendships start with a smile and hello, and you just know you can be great friends!!!”

Check out Trolley Stop Bakery, I might even be there!

Listen to the StoryCorps audio interview Trolley Stop Bakery: Diane Wood, Peace, Love and Chocolate Chip cookies!

About Pam Wilson

I've been writing since I can remember. At heart, I am a story-teller; making sense of my world, finding humor and light through writing. Now I help clients to write their own stories. As I continue my own writing journey, my passion is to help clients write their own stories.

5 Comments

  1. Carolyn on October 21, 2022 at 8:58 am

    This story makes me hungry for what sounds like an amazing cookie and an even better bakery experience. Thanks for sharing her story with us.



    • Pam Wilson on October 26, 2022 at 1:49 pm

      Me, too!!! And the pictures are just the start….when you visit tell Diane I said hello! Thanks for reading!!! I thought you’d like this!!! xoxoxo



  2. Sandye Muncy on October 21, 2022 at 9:50 am

    I’m going to visit there today! Your arrival makes me want to follow the Trolley tracks to happiness❣️ Thanks for doing what you do, Pam👍



    • Sandye Muncy on October 21, 2022 at 9:51 am

      Autocorrect changed article to arrival🙄



      • Pam Wilson on October 24, 2022 at 3:55 pm

        So glad you want to try it out!! Remember…friends always grab a chocolate supreme cookie for friends!!! xoxoxo