Help ‘Burly’ gay baker make sweet love to Atlanta

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The best way Bill Armstrong knows to say “I love you” is with dessert. Now with your help, the gay Atlanta baker and his hunky friends are also saying “thanks” with a sexy calendar.

Translating love and thanks is just part of the language of Burly Bakers, Armstrong's sinfully good dessert lovechild-brainchild that’s already proving popular in its first year as part of a shared commercial kitchen. A vibrant e-commerce site is booming, and word-of-mouth recommendations after catering gay events are helping.

Well, that and the sweet, sweet treats – to-die-for brownies, blondies, butter bars, pralines, fudge and more – that Armstrong drops in your mouth with this Burly Bakers slogan: “If you’re gonna be bad, it better be good.” You do, and it is.

“Growing up, my mom was always making homemade pies, cakes, cookies, etc.,” Armstrong tells Project Q. “Because of this, I've always associated dessert with love. I believe that baking for someone is a pure expression of love, and there's no better way to say ‘I Love You’ than with fresh baked pastry. I want everything I make to provoke the response 'Oh. My. God.' when eaten.”

Consider that last part done. We’ve sampled some wares, and Burly Bakers easily earns our O Face. But it’s time to grow. That’s where you come in. A Kickstarter campaign launched on Monday and drew more than $3,500 in pledges in a single day. Armstrong’s got the goods – and the guys – to entice you into joining the crowd-funding to build an independent Burly Bakers storefront.

Donations of $30 or more get a 2015 calendar featuring images of himself and other aproned-up “Burly Bakers” models (photo), some of whom you may recognize from your travels through gay Atlanta's widely varied events.

T-shirts and other rewards are on the Kickstarter menu as well, and after the campaign is over, the calendars will stay on sale to benefit Laskey’s Lucky Ones, a local pit bull rescue that found a home with Armstrongfor a one-year-old named Addy Mae.

Plans for Burly Bakers include an expanded menu, gluten-free options, a line of protein bars, and a continuation of the existing national mail-order business. But creating a friendly space to do it in may be the biggest motivator, Armstrong says.

“We'd love to be able to meet our customers in person,” he says. “One of the questions I get asked most often is, ‘Can I stop by?’ and we'd love to have a space for people to stop in and grab a pastry and coffee or pick up their order.”

All those dreams may be a tall order, but the baker appears to have everything it takes to fulfill them, including a much-appreciated and appreciative community.

“I am overwhelmed by the amount of support and love I've gotten from my family and friends,” he says. “Changing careers in my 40s is a little scary – I'm a self-employed IT consultant – but the amount of encouragement I've gotten has kept me moving forward, and I'm looking forward to creating a really special place for the bakery in the coming months.”

Contribute to the Burly Bakers Kickstarter campaign, or visit them on Facebook and at their online store.

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