The wait is finally over. University Avenue has gotten a bakery back.
Owner Emily Day told NOSH on Wednesday that business is going smoothly so far. She said the first day was slower than this morning, and expects sales to keep picking up as word gets out about the opening.
The Berkeley bakery is the second location for Flour & Co., and it was designed (beautifully, we might add) by local architects Abueg Morris. Day opened her first retail spot in Nob Hill about two and a half years ago.
Day told us in February that the Bread Workshop space was ideal for her second location. It offers a sizable kitchen, and much of the baking infrastructure remained in place from the previous tenants. About two-thirds of the 3,700 square foot space is taken up by the kitchen and the remainder accommodates the well-stocked retail side, including seating for 35-40 customers. Day plans to use the Berkeley kitchen for more extensive recipe testing, in addition to baking for the retail operation.
Like the San Francisco location, Berkeley’s Flour & Co. specializes in American-style baked goods such as generously sized cookies, pies, brown butter banana bread, biscuits, maple breakfast bundt cakes and “toasty tarts” (scratch-made Pop Tart-like pastries). A few of the baked goods — English muffins, coffee cake, peanut butter cookies, oatmeal muffins and brownies — are wheat-free. (Celiacs take note: all of the wheat-free items are on display next to traditional pastries, so they are likely not fully gluten-free.)
Flour & Co. also offers a full line-up of breakfast and lunch items, including what looks like excellent savory oatmeal and biscuits and gravy on the weekends. Soup and sandwich offerings change regularly.
On our visit Wednesday morning, the kitchen was churning out carrot-ginger soup; a turkey sandwich with caramelized onion, spinach, Gruyere and spicy aioli; a smashed chickpea and tomato sandwich; tuna melts; and grilled cheese on cinnamon swirl bread (hello, childhood lunch fantasies). A hearty kale salad — for the virtuous — was also available to eat in or in ready-to-grab to-go containers.
Portland-based Stumptown Coffee is on deck for caffeine drinkers, and Flour & Co. offers a concise tea menu. Milk jugs of Stumptown’s potent cold-brew sit in the grab-and-go section, along with the aforementioned kale salad, yogurt parfaits, juices and sodas. And anyone with a penchant for semi-homemade baking will appreciate the freezer stocked with ready-to-bake pie dough, cookie dough and Straus ice cream.
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