Delightful treats in downtown Abingdon

Anthony Perkins fell in love with baking as a child while helping his grandmother make annual holiday treats like pineapple cookies and Appalachian-style molasses stack cakes. But it wasn’t until he saw an internet pop-up ad for culinary school in his early 20s that he realized the passion could become a profession. 

“It sounds ridiculous, but I grew up in rural Southwest Virginia, and it had just never occurred to me that it was something I could do,” laughs Perkins, now 46. Two months later, he was studying at Pittsburgh’s Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts. 

Photos courtesy of Anthony’s Desserts

Perkins earned a degree then spent time honing his gastronomical chops in Steel City restaurants. But he missed his family and leapt at the opportunity when Abingdon’s famed Martha Washington Inn & Spa offered him a pastry chef position. Perkins’ post-meal treats quickly became the talk of the town—after five years, he opened a dessert café of his own. 

“I wanted to have more creative flexibility and offer a broader dessert menu with some fun, maybe a little bit of wacky stuff thrown in too,” says Perkins. But he didn’t intend to take a step back in terms of quality. “I wanted to offer my customers beautiful, individual-sized portions that are as good as anything you’ll find in a great restaurant.” 

Anthony’s Desserts launched in 2010 and initially relied on contracts with area restaurants. But options like homemade ice cream and house-roasted coffee steadily drew locals and tourists to Perkins’ eight-seat, diner-style downtown eatery. Skyrocketing popularity led to the purchase of a nearby building with double the space in March 2023. 

“The coffee and ice cream gets people in the door,” says Perkins. Then they see the refrigerators and deli counters filled with fresh, made-from-scratch seasonal delights like apple tarts topped with mascarpone mousse and caramel apple compote. “It piques their interest and gets them excited about trying new things, which is what I love the most about this business.”  AnthonysDesserts.com


This article originally appeared in the Best of Virginia 2024 issue.

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