Throughout my career, I have written thousands of articles about incredible restaurants all around the world. Every now and again, I find a place even more than incredible to write about. Hence, I was so impressed with the fabulous Starburst Parlor, Keto Bakery that I needed to share it with every one. Furthermore, I was outrageously awestruck by its amazing owner, Jill Shlesinger. So, I felt that I had not other choice but to sit down with Jill to do this article.
Robin: So Jill Shlesinger… What inspired you to open your restaurant?
JILL: “I was a general manager at a café on the strip for 11 years. Even during the Covid pandemic. However, when they closed the city, (being that I have worked since I was 13 years old) I had unfamiliar time on my hands. So, I had the luxury of free time to bake foods within my Keto lifestyle which I had been eating (for health reasons) for over a year. So you know, Robin, I have been cooking my whole life. Food is my passion and a great love. It makes me so joyful to see people happy through my food creations. When I myself, wanted to buy Keto products in stores, I hate to say, but the foods tasted awful to me. Furthermore, they were very expensive. Since I had been baking and catering professionally (since I was a teen), I finally had the time during the pandemic to create a variety of delicious Keto foods. I always dreamed of opening my own shop, but I was afraid to pull the investment trigger. Meanwhile, amid the pandemic, I have a group of friends that I decided to deliver my Keto food creations to them, every week. They loved everything and didn’t even realize the foods were all gluten and sugar-free. They gobbled them all up and asked for more. Ironically, that’s when the business I worked at for years was sold, without any warning. Without a job for the first time in my life, my friends encouraged me to start my own restaurant. Without a job, which was a unique phenomenon for me, I had no other choice but to pull the trigger and jump right in.”
ROBIN: That is amazing. I know all your food fans are so glad that you did. Big question Jill… Why and how did you come up with the 50s-60s theme, style, and concept?
JILL: “My fiancé and my group of friends all live and dress in the vintage lifestyle. Our clothes, cars, the way our houses are decorated, even our hairstyles are from that era. It seems we all live in a 50s-60s time capsule, so to speak. Through the bakery, I wanted to share with the public who I am, and how I live. I didn’t want my shop to look and feel like a cookie-cutter corporate establishment or chain. I designed it to be unique, original, fun, and comfortable. I hope my customers sense, that when they walk through the Starburst Parlor doors, it feels as though they magically stepped back in time. It amazes me, each and every time a guest would come up to me and say, “This is amazing. I feel like I am in a food and desert wonderland. There is nothing like this out there anywhere.” That alone makes it all worth it to me. I am overwhelmed with gratitude when I hear people say things like this. It makes my day, for sure!”
ROBIN: Where are you from, Jill Shlesinger?
JILL: “I am originally from New York and I grew up in Southern California. After I graduated, I moved to the fabulous city of Las Vegas. I love it here. But… Don’t get me wrong… I love traveling the world.”
ROBIN: Awesome. How did you come up with the whole Keto concept for the Starburst Parlor Keto Bakery?
JILL: “I started doing pop-up shops in establishments and at my friend’s businesses. We would always sell out everything I baked and brought to the pop-up. Since everyone was asking, “Where can I buy more of these amazing delicious treats?” I realized this was the time to start looking for food trucks, or brick-and-mortar shops. And the rest is history.”
ROBIN: That is so inspirational. On a personal note… How do you manage to raise your family and work full time?
JILL: “I bake 7 days a week. To be honest, I barely have time to come home. Therefore, I am immensely grateful to my fiancé and my son for helping out and supporting me with the business. We do everything as a team, from the baking to making the shop run like clockwork. I am totally blessed. Without them, I could never have made this happen or continue the growth and success we are enjoying. I am beyond, humbled, by all that’s happened with the Bakery. I feel so fortunate being able to make a living doing what I truly love and in a way that makes other people feel happy, as well.”
ROBIN: What are your most favorite products in the Bakery?
JILL: “Oh My Gosh? That is like asking me to pick which child I love more. It is impossible to say. I love and could eat everything in the case. (And I do!) I make different sweets each and every day. There are some deserts I do repeat. However, if there is a custom-order, my regulars can make a request. Or, anyone can go online to purchase orders too.”
ROBIN: How do you dream up and create your endless recipes? And do you serve other foods in addition to all of your many delectable deserts?
JILL: “Other than the sweets, we also serve bagels, pizza, and savory hot hand pies like a stuffed sandwich or a calzone. We also, have a full coffee and espresso program with all variations of coffees both hot and cold. In addition, we have a hand-scooped ice-cream case with around 6 flavors.
As far as coming up with recipe ideas… I have been cooking since I was a young girl. And that, mind you, was before the Internet and Google. Whenever I would taste foods anywhere, I would then later try to recreate them myself. I still use this same technique today. If someone craved and asked me for a particular sweet, since baking is more scientific, I would look at recipes just to get an idea of how it all comes together. I would then work on it, even if it took 12 times to get it perfected, till I created it myself. I find it both fun and challenging to reinvent various comfort foods and sweets through my own sugar and gluten-free style. In addition, I give a lot of credit and appreciation to my clients and regulars (who eventually wind up being friends) for requesting foods, which challenged me to invent new recipes for them with pleasure.”
ROBIN: Oh my goodness, I think I just gained ten pounds listening to you talk about all of your spectacular foods and sweets!
JILL: “Oh no, no, no, NO! Just the opposite… Everything in the bakery is super low carb, sugar-free, and gluten-free.”
ROBIN: Girl, I am so, all in! I’m curious, Jill, where do you buy all your vintage things?
JILL: “My fiancé and I, before Covid, used to travel the country going to Tiki Bars, swap meets, and flea markets. We also collected things from various thrift stores. It’s more than a hobby, though. It’s what I eat, think, and sleep. Looking for everything from that period in time, be it on eBay or any other venue, is somewhat of an addiction for me.
Looking for mid-century-modern treasures brings me so much happiness. It somehow heightens my endorphins. When I find a new treasure, I feel as though I won the Lottery.
I joke, that I actually might be a vintage hoarder. But guess what, I admit it and I’m proud of it! LOL, LOL, LOL!”
ROBIN: I gotta say Jill, I kind of love that about you. You are adorable. You keep it honest, all the way down to your shop. Why did you name the bakery, Starburst Parlor?
JILL: “The starburst shape is an iconic shape from the mid-century. So, I thought it would represent the bakery perfectly.”
ROBIN: Wow, that is brilliant! Jill, it was such a pleasure interviewing you. I wish all of your sweet dreams to come true. By the way, you’re doing the community a great service with your unique and original bakery. So many people can’t have sugar or gluten, so your shop is heaven on earth for the. Or should I say, heaven in their tummy… Kudos girl! In closing, is there anything else you would like to say?
JILL: “Oh thank you so much. I am just doing what I love to do which is to bring people pleasure with food. I just want everyone out there to know that nothing makes me happier than creating something delicious that makes people smile. This is what I Love To Do! Ok, edit… Finding a vintage rare treasure is right up there too. LOL! I look forward to anyone who reads this article, be it someone local or traveling to come by the bakery to say hello and check out all we have to offer. It would be so cool and I would love to meet you. PS: let me know when you come by that you read this article for a cup of coffee on me. Lastly, I just want to say how thankful, grateful, and appreciative I am to all my guests who frequent the Starburst Parlor, my loyal friends, family and supporters. I thank you all!
Until then, keep it sweet, (sugar and gluten-free) and stay safe, all you cats and kittens…”
ROBIN: I rate the Starburst Parlor Keto Bakery (and Jill), a solid A+!
I say go there, enjoy, relax, and devour delectable and yummy Keto delicacies…
VISIT STARBURST PARLOR:
StarBurst Parlor 2202 West Charleston #6, Las Vegas, NV 89102
Ph: (702) 626-0977 firstname.lastname@example.org