By Billy Eye
“The fine arts are five in number, namely: painting, sculpture, poetry, music, and architecture, the principal branch of the latter being pastry.” — Marie-Antoine Careme
Eye am fond of saying, each societal shift presents an opportunity for advancement for those with motivation and talent.
Finding herself out of work with a newborn baby to look after when the shutdown happened, Veneé Pawlowski began doing what she does best, what she does professionally – baking – this time from her home on the outskirts of downtown Greensboro. With orders trickling in at first from her circle of Facebook friends, word of (or fork to) mouth caused business to explode, so she set up an online storefront a couple of weeks ago for what she’s calling Black Magnolia Southern Patisserie.
Veneé serves up traditional Southern classic desserts, sometimes with a European spin. For instance, “I use brioche for my cinnamon rolls,” Veneé says. “I make sure to have a cake, pie and pudding available each week in addition to my cinnamon rolls.” Eye can attest to how creamy and delicious her banana pudding is, best I’ve ever had!
Being a new mother presents its own challenges. “It’s a lot harder than I thought it was going to be,” Veneé  tells me. “She just turned 4 months. It was easy at first but she’s getting a little bit bigger so she doesn’t just sleep all day.”
The home she’s living (and baking) in has a rich history, one of 3 grand houses from the turn of the 20th century on the east side of the 600 block of Summit Avenue that have, until recently, been languishing in disrepair.
The house on the corner of Summit and Charter Place has been painstakingly restored, with its majestic 2-story high white Ionic columns up front and an inviting rounded wraparound front porch underneath corner bay windows. Truly one of the most beautiful homes in the city.
Next door is Tar Heel Manor, also lovingly restored and modernized, with 4,000+ square feet on two levels featuring 4 bedrooms, a sleeping porch, sun room and library loft that can be rented by the night, week or month. Six years after it was built, in the pre-motel / hotel / Holiday Inn days of 1906, Tar Heel Manor was divided into 16 bedrooms for a travelers’ lodge then later served as a boarding house.
Converted into a duplex in the 1950s, the house on Summit where Veneé and her husband Ian reside is currently undergoing renovation and will eventually be re-converted into a single family residence once again. “We’ll be moving very soon, just because we’ve been expanding so quickly.”
Each week Veneé features a rotating variety of delicacies. This week: Brioche Cinnamon Rolls (every weekend), Bourbon Chocolate Chess Tarts, Strawberries & Cream Bread Pudding, Red Velvet Cake, and Strawberry Lemonade Cake, available by the slice.
With pickup between 12:00-3:00 on Saturdays, you’ll have an opportunity to see these magnificent homes for yourself when you pull up to the bumper for curbside service.
Click here to indulge your sweet tooth with Black Magnolia Southern Patisserie.
Eye mentioned in my June ‘Wandering Billy’ column that I was enjoying the quasi-nightly online performances by troubadour Craig Baldwin, acoustically covering songs from the last 50 years of our world-wide rock songbook. You may find this enjoyable as well, Craig’s performances usually begin around 8:00pm, check it out here.

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