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Tacoma Baking Company is opening this week in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood

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Real bagels. Delicious, chewy, real bagels that are boiled in a kettle. At Tacoma Baking Company.

And laminated dough. So much laminated dough. 

And familiar pastry chef names, such as Ashley Baird.

Desserts, hearth-baked breads, those kettle-boiled bagels and pastries. Tacoma Baking Company will have it all when it opens on January 4 in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood.

I asked longtime Tacoma pastry chef Baird for background on the bakery. She’s one of the owners.

For those who follow the food scene and for members of Where to Dine Pierce County, you know it’s been a long time coming. 

For two years, I’ve heard this bakery was set to open. There were some behind-the-scenes problems that included the typical permit slow-downs and a name change. But forget the past. Let’s talk about what comes next.

Like Ashley Baird’s delicious croissants. 

I enjoyed her pastries when she baked at Alegre, the gelato and pastry cafe in Tacoma’s Proctor neighborhood. (Side alert: The champagne bar that opened in Alegre’s space is now closing this week). 

I also loved Baird’s work when she worked for Marrow, the upscale, experimental restaurant that operated in Tacoma’s Sixth Avenue neighborhood from 2011 to 2016.

“I am part owner and one of the chefs, in charge of the viennoiserie department,” explained Baird of Tacoma Baking Company.

THE OWNERS

The structure of the bakery is one that I find fascinating. Baird explained that some owners are on-site owners and others are silent. There are eight owners total. 

Aside from Baird, the active owners are CEO Jessica Devisser, Human Resources head Peter Devisser, Chef Jay O’Neill, Chef Katie Geissler and General Contractor/Facilities Manager John Raney.

Baird described, “Our bakery is made up of four divisions, each headed by chefs who specialize in that area: bread and bagels, viennoiserie, pastry and savory.”

“Every day there will be a big rotating menu of kettle-boiled bagels and hearth-baked breads, tons of croissants, awesome grab-and-go sandwiches, and eventually made-to-order sandwiches. Cakes, cookies, entremets, macarons…. I could go on and on. And, of course, we have a team of really skilled baristas who will be slinging Bluebeard coffee. We really have the whole meal deal.” 

Her division, viennoiserie, will be a source of pride for Baird. “Honestly, ever since we’ve been able to be in the bakery and start testing production, I’ve cried tears of relief and happiness at least once every day. It’s been such a long time coming to be able to begin our dream,” she said.

CASCADE BAGELS ARE BACK (IN SPIRIT)

I can’t wait to dig into her croissants and Danish.

She noted something that bagel watchers will want to know: Tacoma Baking Company bought the equipment from Cascade Bagel when owner Bob Bringer closed the doors of the longtime Lakewood bagelry in November. It was the only actual bagel cafe in all of Pierce County and its exit left a real dearth for kettle-boiled bagels. 

But they’ll be back. At Tacoma Baking Company.

“The closing of Cascade was so unfortunate for Bob and his team, and really heartbreaking for us to hear about as owners in the same field. Luckily, we were in a position where we were able to buy their equipment and hire their full staff as our own. Which was SUCH a blessing for us, the team is great and really care about their product,” said Baird. 

Everything about that last paragraph is exactly what I love about Tacoma.

Bring on those bagels, croissants and macarons. 

Tacoma Baking Company

Where: 1316 Martin Luther King Junior Way, Tacoma 

Info: 253-315-5944 or facebook.com/tacomabakingcompany

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