Highly anticipated since CHS first broke the news last November about its plans, Bakery Nouveau Capitol Hill is ready to serve its first batches of flaky, buttery croissant at 15th and John.
“We’re preparing like it’s a regular day in West Seattle,” William Leaman said Sunday as he and his crew put the finishing touches on the space and got to work baking and making in anticipation of the Monday morning opening. You can be there at 8 AM to try to be first. But there’s no rush. Bakery Nouveau’s pastries, chocolates, sandwiches and treats untold are here to stay.
The opening comes some six months after Leaman first began working on the plans to create his new bakery in one of the most challenging retail spaces on Capitol Hill. We talked to him again in late January as the logistics of making Bakery Nouveau work at 15th and John were finally hammered out.
Figuring out how to properly vent a space not originally built to be vented and bake in a space not originally built to be baked in gave Leaman challenges that, with good fortune and a talented architect, led to opportunities. Leaman said the result is a bakery and kitchen that gives him a better working environment than he could have envisioned without the space’s challenges.
“It’s more open as a result and easier for me to see everything and see where I can help,” the award-winning pastry chef said.
Leaman said chocolate and candy production for all of Nouveau is moving to the new Capitol Hill kitchen. His Capitol Hill venture will now employ 20 people. The production area is viewable — through a set of curtains that will mostly stay open, Leaman’s wife and Nouvea manager Heather Leaman said as she held them back for CHS to get a sneak peek — behind the giant display counter that runs the length of the bakery’s entrance and seating area. The back corner houses the espresso bar powered by a Slayer machine — one of only a small handful operating in the state, chef Leaman proudly noted. There are tables for those who can linger. In summer, the now-less-neglected Williams Place Park will offer more space to enjoy a sandwich.
[mappress mapid="42"]Leaman’s croisants and pastries have become known as some of the best in the city since he founded the first Nouveau six years ago in West Seattle. The Seattle Times last week said you should be excited about Leaman’s “incomparable twice-baked almond croissants and gorgeously crusty baguettes.” On Capitol Hill, “the focus will be more patisserie — over the top cakes, candies, kick-ass sandwiches — more four-star dining between two pieces of bread,” Leaman told us earlier.
Sunday, he said that’s still the plan. Monday’s more casual 8 o’clock start time will lead into regular hours that mirror the West Seattle original: 6a-7p, Monday to Thursday, 6a-9p on Fridays, 7a-9p on Saturdays and 7a-7p on Sundays. It’s possible Bakery Nouveau Capitol Hill could eventually stay open later, the Leamans said. But first they have to get to know the new neighborhood. Given the anticipation, we’re guessing that won’t take long to accomplish.
You can learn more at bakerynouveau.com.