Patti Petersen has found the secret for the perfect cheesecake: a cross between a dense New York cheesecake and the creamy aspect of others.
Now, she's bringing her idea to downtown Rock Hill. Or bringing it back, rather.
Petersen officially opened the doors of Periwinkle Cafe & Bakery on Monday, but she isn't new to the restaurant world.
In 2000, she opened her bakery Pat-a-Cakes, but sold it in 2005 to spend more time with her family. But she discovered she couldn't stay out of the kitchen.
"It drew me back in," she said. "I just love baking."
And she's hoping former customers will remember her baking and visit Periwinkle Cafe & Bakery at 140 E. Main St., in the restaurant space formerly occupied by Augello's and the Rock Hill Roasting Company.
When she began plans for the new business in January, she couldn't figure out what to call it. She couldn't use Pat-a-Cakes again because when she'd sold the business, she'd also sold the name.
Property manager John Misskelley showed her an old photograph of 1940s downtown Rock Hill, and she pointed to a sign shaped like a teapot, asking what it was.
The teapot sign read "Periwinkle Tea Room," standing where the patio to her business is now, and Petersen said it was like a light bulb went off.
Petersen replaced the bar inside the restaurant with regular seating, hung up a mural by local artist Noni Morrison depicting downtown Rock Hill and added some antiques, all in an effort to "put their own stamp on it."
One of her stamps will be in the bakery, where Petersen loves to make cheesecakes, brownies, cookies and pies.
"It's what I grew up with," she said. "My grandma always baked, and my mom worked at a bakery."
Around Thanksgiving and Christmas, Petersen said she probably bakes between 3,000 and 4,000 cookies, and her son's friends always knew her house would have treats.
"I love to see the end product, love to see people's reactions," she said.
"There's just something special about creating something. ... Everyone has their talent, and that's mine."
She credits the city of Rock Hill and York County for their help in installing a kitchen hood and a gas line.
"Other businesses have been amazing," she said. "When you're downtown, you feel like you're a part of something."
She also found inspiration in her 16-year-old son, Johnny, who encouraged her to open her own business again, telling her God would open the doors.
"I'm pleased with it," she said. "And I'm excited. I'm nervous, but I'm excited."
Dixie Rose, assistant manager, has worked with Petersen to get the business off the ground.
"Everyone should come because the food is good, and so is the baking," she said. "The cheesecake is phenomenal."
Periwinkle Cafe & Bakery is open from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.