3 of a Kind: When Restaurants Give Rise to Great Bakeries
3 of a Kind checks out three places across the country to try something cool, new and delicious.
For years chefs have dabbled in the sweeter side of dough, baking up flaky desserts when the whim strikes but leaving the day-to-day dedication to their pastry counterparts. The tide has recently begun to change, however, as these pastry dalliances that started in the restaurant kitchen are inspiring chefs to open full-service bakeries.
Proof Bakeshop, Atlanta
People first flocked to Billy Allin’s Cakes & Ale for the beautifully composed plates of seasonal Southern cuisine, but the housemade desserts and breads quickly stirred up attention in their own right. So hot was the demand for these baked goods that after a short stint selling them at local farmers markets, the restaurant group opened up a brick-and-mortar location: Proof Bakeshop.
The bakery chefs make everything in-house, down to the lamination for their croissants. Their English muffins make the perfect platters for fillings such as baked local eggs, and ham and Gruyere cheese, and their buttercream is made from rich European butter.
Manresa Bread, California
Baker Avery Ruzicka loves the art of making bread and has been drawn to it throughout her career. Though she initially started at David Kinch’s three-Michelin-starred Manresa as a food runner, her dedication to dough (which was so intense that she spent her free time staging and working in bread) eventually led to her spearheading Manresa’s bread program. She stepped up the game so much that it piqued interest from those both inside the restaurant and at local farmers markets.
In 2013 Ruzicka opened her first Manresa Bread; she opened her second outpost in 2016. The bakery serves her famous breads — Edison whole-wheat flax, brioche — and a selection of tartine, croissants and other pastries. The new location offers an espresso bar, artisan goodies, and a selection of meat and cheese.
The Bakery at Fat Rice, Chicago
After building up a base of devotees in Chicago with their underground dinners, Abe Conlon and Adrienne Lo rose to national prominence when they introduced Macanese-style food to the Windy City by way of their restaurant Fat Rice. This enterprising duo hasn’t stopped there, though. They’ve now opened a bakery that tours its patrons through lesser-known Asian pastries (with their own personal twist, of course).
Favorites include the pastry bun made out of sweet potato and stuffed with guava and cream cheese, as well as the savory Sri Lankan corned beef bun. This Asian riff on a traditional Jewish deli sandwich shakes up corned beef with pungent additions such as jalapeno and curry leaf. Arguably the most whimsical is their version of the classic Chinese hot dog bun as seen through a Windy City lens. At the center of this golden pillow of dough is a Vienna dog smothered with all the standard Chicago hot-dog fixins. Drop in at night and you’re in for an extra treat: The bakery doubles as a petisco bar serving small bites and cocktails.
Photos courtesy of Proof Bakeshop, Joyce Oudkerk Pool and The Bakery at Fat Rice