‘Can I have Mama’s cookie’

AwesomeYo offers custom cakes, spicy food and so much more

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Everything started with “Oma” Donabella Louise Sanget.

“My grandma [Oma] had an American dream of opening up a business in America one day,” her granddaughter Barbara Surjawidjaja recalled. “Mom [Yolanda VanWettering] was the first and only person to make that happen for her.

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“[Oma] was able to put whatever she wanted into the business too. That’s why everything has her in it. Every thought. The spicy chips, that was her recipe, her ideas. Everything [we have is] because of Oma.”

That brick-and-mortar American dream is AwesomeYo’s Kitchen, which initially opened in 2018 on South Main Street.

“I opened this business because I love making cakes,” VanWettering said.

Before opening, she had been making customized cakes at home. After she got married in 2011, the house got a bit crowded with “stuff.”

That is when VanWettering started to apply for jobs at local bake shops. After two “not meant to be” experiences, the family found the location at 209 Main St.

Those “not meant to be” experiences were the family’s first blessing in disguise.

Since opening, the family’s customer base has grown through word of mouth.

“We had a lot of her regular customers ordering cakes at the house and then they switched over to the bakery,” Surjawidjaja said. “Word of mouth is so important for a small business like us.”

The business participated in the Edison Chamber of Commerce’s Taste of Middlesex for three years and won awards for Best Desserts and Best Presentation.

With Oma’s suggestion, AwesomeYo’s Kitchen also offers breakfast and lunch.

Along with your regular breakfast sandwich, avocado toast and fluffy buttermilk pancakes, customers can order traditional Indonesian dishes: Pastel, a flaky pastry filled with chicken, veggies, vermicelli noodles and eggs; Nasi Goreng (Stir-fry), Indonesian style rice stir-fry; Indo Burger, burger with an Indonesian topping of Rendang; Bakmie Ayam, noodles topped with seasoned diced chicken, bok choy and mushrooms; Rendang tacos, tortilla filled with shredded Rendang (braised beef); and chicken satay, four marinated skewers.

With your order, don’t forget to add your spice level ranging from mild to spicy. But, warning, be careful what you ask for!

Along with a breakfast and lunch menu, there is also a bubble tea menu along with a number of desserts to choose from. Among the desserts is an Indonesian pineapple tart cookie called Nastar, which the community has lovingly been dubbed “Mama’s cookie” after Oma.

“It’s the only Indonesian cookie that we have,” Surjawidjaja said. “People just came in and asked, ‘Can I have Mama’s cookie? We didn’t even make the name. People just named it.

“It just shows you how loving people can be and how much people loved her so much.”

It was a common site to see Sanget in her “big comfy chair” welcoming customers in.

On Friday nights, she kept VanWettering company as she designed custom cake orders.

Sadly, Sanget passed away in January after a battle of cancer.

“You don’t really realize how great a community can be until you are really down one day and everyone is there,” Surjawidjaja said. “She had cancer so everyone was seeing her go through the steps. It was hard, but it was really warming to see that from the community.

“Oma was big part how everything happened … we miss her so much.”

Remember, earlier we said the “not meant to be” experiences were the family’s first blessing in disguise.

The second blessing in disguise came on Feb. 5, 2022 when a devastating fire caused significant damage to equipment, supplies and inventory.

It may not have seemed like a blessing at the time, but Surjawidjaja and VanWettering can say that now.

With the support of the community, VanWettering and her family were able to rebuild and find a new home at 50 Pearl St. in September 2022. And they have been there ever since.

“We love it here so much, there’s so much better foot traffic,” Surjawidjaja said, adding customers have become family members. “We have so many more people regularly coming in, walking in from their apartments or homes.”

Custom cakes and spicy food? – That is what you get at AwesomeYo Kitchen plus so much more.

VanWettering said she tries to stay on top of the custom cake trends, which include burn away cake toppers.

“I like a challenge,” she said, explaining she enjoys making extraordinary cakes that have customers say “awesome.”

VanWettering said the name “AwesomeYo” stuck after a conversation with her pastor when she lived in New York City.

So whether it is a custom cake or breakfast/lunch, just make sure to check their social media postings for holiday specials and upcoming macaroon and sushi making classes.

Also they make and offer New Orleans-styled Nutella-filled beignets every Saturday.

AwesomeYo is located at 50 Pearl St. and open Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information call (732) 662-7676 and email awesomeyobakery@gmail.com.

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