Just a few hours after it opened its doors today for the first time, Fournée, Frank Sally’s new bakery and patisserie opposite the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, was running low on raspberry scones, Ceylon sticky buns and classic baguettes.
The baskets of pastries were emptying rapidly as a steady stream of customers entered the neat, airy space with its exposed brick wall and wooden shelves of loaves and — invariably — greeted the staff with a hearty “welcome to the neighborhood!”
Those who live nearby have been waiting for this day for some time. Berkeleyside first spoke to Sally, formerly at the San Francisco Baking Institute, in August 2012. At that time, he was hoping to be launched by November — or at the latest for the pre-Christmas season.
The delays were long and prompted by myriad obstacles — permitting issues, another task that needed to be executed in order to satisfy the city inspectors, unwelcome discoveries requiring more work during the remodel. Needless to say, Sally doesn’t want to dwell on them now that opening day has finally arrived.
He will, however, give a shout-out to the late David Morris, owner of The Bread Garden which served the neighborhood from this locale for 39 years before uprooting to Paso Robles. Morris alerted Sally to the fact that the lease was available, walked him through the place before relocating, and kept in touch. Also instrumental to the bakery coming together was Dan Austin at Berkeley’s Rocket Restaurant Resource, who, said Sally, was incredibly helpful in helping him with the design and outfitting of the space, his first business.
It’s been a long journey but we are very happy it’s over now, said Sally.
Fournée offers a range of breads — baguettes, levain, whole wheat, sunflower rye, walnut, Provençal — cakes and tarts, and pastries. Some of those on offer today included Kugelhopf, gougères, Caneles, Meyer Lemon shortbread, Noisettes and chocolate chip cookies.
Sally also plans to start using his bread oven to make pizzas soon. He toyed with the idea of offering sandwiches, but realized the neighborhood was already quite well served in that area, not least Rick and Ann’s and Fresh and Best within spitting distance.
Staffer Marie, who was helping Sally keep the supply of baked goods coming today as the shelves began to clear, said it was a good thing the baker had such a calm temperament. “There were people outside the door at 6:45 am waiting for us to open at 7am,” she said. “It’s been good to see.”
Fournée is at 2912 Domingo Ave. (next door to Peet’s), Berkeley 94705. Opening hours: Tues-Sat. 7am-7pm; Sunday 7am-3pm. Closed Mondays.
In memoriam: David Morris, owner of The Bread Garden [04.12.13]
New Berkeley bakery Fournée to source locally [11.28.12]
Pastry chef to open new bakery in Bread Garden space [08.14.12]