PITTSBURG -- Sassy Sweets & Eats, a bakery-cafe that specializes in gourmet cupcakes, plans to open a third store on Railroad Avenue in Old Town.

Owner Monique Cortes and her two business partners, pastry chef Amelia Bertera and cake designer Daniel Fuchino, are aiming for the newest location to be opened by mid-July. At a meeting Monday night, the city council approved a three-year sublease agreement for the business to operate at 755 Railroad Ave., a location that was occupied by Old Town Pastry before it closed in February 2012.

In October 2012, the city was poised to approved a sublease with Walnut Creek-based A Sweet Affair bakery and cafe to open another location at the site. But A Sweet Affair withdrew its proposal.

Cortes, a 36-year-old Pittsburg native who now lives in Citrus Heights, opened the first Sassy Sweets & Eats in 2009 in Carmichael, a suburb of Sacramento, and a second location in Folsom in February 2012.

She got the bakery bug after watching a television episode of "Martha Stewart" that featured a cupcake segment and used money from a severance package received after working at AT&T for 13 years to finance her dream of opening a bakery.

"I started messing around with recipes and it took off, " Cortes, a self-taught baker, said in an interview. "We do crazy flavors. Our best selling (cupcake) is pancakes and bacon."

Under the terms of the lease agreement with Sassy Sweets & Eats, the city will receive a monthly rent payment of $1,851 for the first year, with a six-month rent credit applied to offset relocation and startup costs for the business, which means the city will receive $11,106 in revenue from June 1, 2013 through May 31, 2014.

The Railroad Avenue space had been vacant for some time when Cortes drove by it a couple months ago while taking some friends to lunch at one of the city's best-known restaurants.

"I wanted to introduce my friends to Mecca," said Cortes. "We just passed by and saw the (closed) bakery and realized it was vacant."

That Pittsburg is her hometown is one reason to open a new location here. Another reason, she said, is "the Sacramento area is saturated with cupcake stores."

The popularity of cupcakes helps explain why the Food Network cable television channel has a "Cupcake Wars" show where four bakers compete to win a $10,000 prize.

"We just sent them our audition tape," Cortes said.

Contact Eve Mitchell at 925-779-7189. Follow her on Twitter.com/EastCounty_Girl.

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