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New bakery, Dear Potato, opens in downtown Helena

Posted at 8:01 PM, Dec 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-19 11:59:30-05

HELENA — A new bakery in Helena is not only serving up delicious baked goods, pirozhkis, and borscht soup but a whole different kind of decor bringing a new flair to the downtown area.

Started as a food blog during Covid, Dear Potato (website) is an homage to everything potato and anything taste adjacent to the planet’s tasty tuber.

“I’ve been an artist my whole life but I never knew what my medium was. And then as soon as I found baking, I was like this is it. It's a way for me to create something that's not permanent too Like, I like creating something and then just having it go away and then having like another opportunity to make something else,” says the owner of Dear Potato, Shea Conley.

You may recognize Shea Conley’s vibrant and maximalism designs from her time operating a pop-up tent at events like Alive at 5. Well, after years spent hustling at such events and creating custom cakes, Conley has managed to open a Dear Potato brick-and-mortar.

The energetic decoration on the interior is matched only by the edible glitter and vibrant colors displayed on her cookies and cakes.

Before arriving in Helena three years ago to be closer to family, Conley spent years slinging baked goods in Pike Place Market and kneading dough for a Russian bakery in Seattle. She’s combined her love of both styles of culinary arts and sells not only baked goods but also traditional Russian food like pirozhkis and borscht soup.

“Yeah, it's like all the things that I like and all the things I wanna eat plus the things that like these Russian ladies taught me and then like all the things I took from Pike Place Market too,” says Conley.

Going to breweries with family and friends, Conley noticed a trend in her nephew.

“And so, whenever he goes to 10 Mile, he just like beelines it towards the back to go play with like all the toys,” says Conley.

Dear Potato is a space for kids to be kids while also creating food and atmosphere for parents and kids at heart alike.

“I don't know. I guess my inner child was like I want a place like this that’s just so colorful and so wild and there's so much to do. And I can like color a picture and a person will put it on the wall. And so, I just really wanted to make that space for the kids,” says Conley.

But the bakery is not only for children. Conley plans to open the bakery up for late nights, encouraging those leaving the bars to wind down their night with a pirozhki and a movie before heading home.

Dear Potato is now open off East 6th Ave between N Jackson and Cruse Street in downtown Helena.