Built on an atmosphere centered on “cupcakes and conversation,” Riley’s Cupcakes and Coffee intends to focus on community while serving up pastries. Ever since the store opened March 17, Riley’s has been tapping into the taste buds of Peoria.
Owned by Riley Greenwood, the business is located at 315 Main St. and is the sister store of Sweet Cakes By Rachael, which is also in Peoria. They offer a variety of items, including cookies, coffee and cinnamon rolls.
“We do have basic flavors [of cupcakes] that we have here every single day,” Greenwood said. “[But] we don’t have a paper copy menu … the flavors are different all the time.”
An example of one of their daily creations is Riley’s coffee-cake muffins infused with real coffee.
“We get great coffee here, and it’s flavored. So what I’m doing now is incorporating that coffee into different products,” Greenwood said. “I might have a cookie that’s infused with coffee, or it has a coffee glaze. I’m planning on doing blueberry cinnamon rolls with blueberry crumble coffee. It’s something that pairs really well but is completely different from regular cupcakes.”
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and Cookies and Cream are some of the most popular cupcake flavors, according to Greenwood. Additionally, Riley’s has award-winning Key-Lime pie cupcakes.
Greenwood said she believes the ever-changing flavors make Riley’s special to the community.
“I have a conversation with everyone that comes in,” Greenwood said. “I want to create more of a family environment, so this place is really for everyone. We encourage [turning phones off] and interacting as much as possible.”
The tables at Riley’s have surfaces that allow people to write or draw in chalk and an atmosphere that encourages open communication between customers.
“I’m trying to create an environment for 20 and 30 year old’s that’s completely outside of the bar,” Greenwood said. “I feel it’s very important for young people to not just feel that the first date has to be a drink. It’s almost like a learning experience to see what kind of food other people like.”
Greenwood said she is planning a variety of events, including poetry nights, open-mic gospel music on Sundays and evenings of discussion on various topics to add entertainment to her business.
“I’d like to also do an open jam [where] we’d all be performing together,” Greenwood said. “My favorite thing is to be in the middle of a crowd of people making noise. I really would like to start investing my money to buy instruments to have down here, so my door is always open to anyone that wants to come play the acoustic guitar or play the piano.”
The downtown location is already a destination for those seeking a bite for lunch or after work. Although Riley’s has been open less than a month, Greenwood said it’s already built a following.
“I have had the same repeat customers since the day I opened. It’s wonderful seeing all the same people,” Greenwood said.
Despite turning 26 years old the day the store opened, Greenwood said owning a business can be stressful, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“As long as you have faith in what you’re doing, you have to stay confident in yourself no matter if someone thinks that’s not the right plan,” Greenwood said. “The freedom is definitely the most uplifting feeling. I can make the cupcakes I want, be open when I want, and that freedom is insane.”
Riley’s Cupcakes and Coffee is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Weekly deals or special dessert updates are posted periodically to Riley’s Facebook and Instagram pages.