BY AUBREY DUNNUCK
Have you spotted the LuckyGuy Bakery logo of a peg-legged rabbit? His name is Felix, which means “lucky” in Latin. Owner Joni McGary says while the slightly dark design is based on the lucky rabbit’s foot superstition, the business name was inspired by the two “lucky guys” in her life — husband Chris McGary and their son, Jack, 15.
Armed with a food science degree from Cornell University, a background in commercial food production, and a recipe refined over the course of many bake sales, McGary decided to start selling her brownies in May 2015. “I had been thinking about it for a long time, but friends would say, ‘Don’t do it, it’s going to be so much work with no return.’ But the return is that you feel so connected with this community,” she says.
The business grew more rapidly than McGary expected, with the first retail order coming in September 2015 from Hopscotch Coffee, followed by a rush of holiday orders. Her experience in the food industry immediately came in handy. “I didn’t realize how much it would help until I started, but what also makes it easier is that I work with really helpful people,” McGary explains. In particular, she mentions how UGo bars team Rebecca Walter and Tracy Gates shared valuable suggestions for scaling up recipes, and how the folks at Bloomingfoods guided her through the ins and outs of retail.
According to McGary, what sets her brownie recipe apart is that chocolate is the first ingredient by weight. In fact, she says, her Iconic Brownie contains four kinds of chocolate, creating a chocolate-forward flavor profile that is further amplified by the addition of coffee and plenty of salt. The Nutty Brownie variation, McGary’s personal favorite, adds walnuts. “The addition of the walnut halves makes it a totally different brownie,” she says.
LuckyGuy’s best-selling brownie is its newest addition, The Gluten-Free Brownie. According to McGary, switching out the flour transforms the texture, resulting in a dense, creamy brownie. While McGary is wary of expanding too quickly, she’s been experimenting with flavor combinations, such as her Hot Flash Brownie, spiced with cayenne pepper.
LuckyGuy brownies can be purchased online at luckyguybakery.com and locally at Bloomingfoods, Hopscotch Coffee, and Uel Zing Coffee Lab, plus Wildwood Market in Indianapolis.