Video | State Worker Turned Fifth Tier Baking Studio Owner

Video | State Worker Turned Fifth Tier Baking Studio Owner


The Downtown Albany Business Improvement District (BID) was joined by Mayor Kathy Sheehan, County Executive Daniel McCoy representative Matt Cannon, property owner Jack Yonally, and business owner Lyle Houston on February 14 in officially welcoming The Fifth Tier Baking Studio to Downtown to 54 Columbia Street. A state employee from the age of 18, Houston, now 44, has always been interested in baking. Unfulfilled by his career, he began taking classes at Schenectady County Community College and later at the Culinary Institute of America. The opening is the culmination of those efforts and over $50,000 of investment in the shop, equipment, and licensing.

The name Fifth Tier originates from a project Houston was given while studying at the CIA; in a design course, students were tasked with completing a mock business name and logo. For his part, Houston combined the idea of a five-star restaurant with a wedding cake, and The Fifth Tier Baking Studio was born. The shop's location is, in part, the result of the proximity of his former office; previously working on Broadway, it was his walks around Downtown that led him to the spot at 54 Columbia Street.

Houston is not just working to feed the community; he's also working with fellow business owners to foster the camaraderie that comes with operating in an urban environment. The 250-square-foot shop allows room for the bare necessities, meaning baking is done across the street at The Hollow Bar + Kitchen; the restaurant is also one of two locations where fans can find Fifth Tier baked goods outside of the shop, the other being the recently opened 3Fish Coffee on Madison Avenue.

"My partner John and I have put blood, sweat, and tears into this business," said Houston. "The response and the support we have had is unbelievable. They say it's not work if you love what you do, so I am ecstatic to know I won't have to work another day in my life."

The Fifth Tier Baking Studio is located at 54 Columbia Street. Hours are 7:00 AM – 2:30 PM Monday through Friday. For more information call 518.650.7240 or visit fifthtierbakingstudio.com. 

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[Photo credit: Capitalize Albany Corporation]