But, as she talks about moving beyond macarons as “sugar bombs” by avoiding refined sugars and using only natural colorings, you will also know that the pastry chef is ready to move beyond the initial pitch behind her new Amandine Bakeshop — authentic macarons are good, but Naftaly has more interesting goals in mind.
“It’s kind of me as a baker, a very definite, personal expression,” Naftaly said.
“As much as beauty if important, flavor should come first. It makes it a challenge. It makes it more interesting.”
Amandine and its joined-at-the-hip sibling Empire Espresso opened this week in the slowly coming together Chophouse Row neighboring the centerpiece Chop Shop and just up the breezeway from locavore favorite Kurt Farm Shop and coming soon Bar Ferd’nand II.
The project is now open on two levels of the Chophouse marketplace with a split ground floor/mezzanine cafe and bakeshop. Bruce and Sarah Naftaly’s much-loved Le Gourmand and Sambar shuttered on NW Market St in 2012. The duo announced the new Capitol Hill project in early 2014. Speaking of challenges, opening the new bakery and cafe has been a bit of a journey.
Naftaly said the original partnership with Slate Coffee didn’t work out, leaving her searching for a new companion.
“If I could make coffee the way I feel I can bake, I would make the coffee myself,” Naftaly said.
She can’t, of course. Enter Empire Espresso, the spunky Columbia City-born cafe with ambitions to be part of Capitol Hill’s rich coffee scene.
Naftaly tells CHS she was taken by Empire’s enthusiasm to be part of the project and a new partnership was born.
All that’s left is logistics. In a combination that’s a bit of a trend (See also: Hello Robin + Molly Moon’s) as food and drink operators explore the best way to optimize business and cover high rents, the bakery and cafe are operated separately but are, well, all up in each other’s business.
“It really is two businesses behaving one business in a very small space,” Naftaly says.
As the combination gets sorted out, Naftaly said she is looking forward to expanding her offerings and putting her nearly 20 years of baking experience on display with plated desserts, sacristans, scones, cookies, and, yes, many, many macarons.
Capitol Hill food+drink notes
- 12th and Jefferson bicycle-focused cafe Peloton is finally ready to open after a longer than expected build-out. After a few event openings here and there, the grand opening is planned for January 2nd. Congrats!
- With its home shop in Ballard, Parfait is well known around the Hill for its 15th Ave E ice cream truck stops and other various pop-up appearances. Owner Adria Shimada tells us now you can enjoy Parfait’s creations with a quick visit to a local market:
Hi! Parfait is now licensed as a CREAMERY, which means we can offer our ice cream in other restaurants and grocery stores. And we now have pints in two places in Capitol Hill…Central Coop, and Cone & Steiner! I know lots of your readers are Parfait fans, but don’t always want to travel across town to Ballard. Now they can pick up a pint at their neighborhood market! :)
- “I can finally admit where the hell I have been! So grateful and honored to have gotten picked for this job” — Makini Howell on her gig as touring chef for Stevie Wonder. Howell says the grueling schedule contributed to a slow start for Sugar Plum which opened on 15th Ave E this summer.
- There’s been no on the record word from Andrew Friedman about the long-delayed opening of Good Citizen but the E Olive Way space is available for party and event rental this holiday season. Looks good:
- Friday on E Olive Way: Free churros(?!?!) at Hot Cakes Capitol Hill.
- That big dude working security at 95 Slide? No, the other one. He’s an aspiring NFL running back.
- I know we’ve heard the Capitol Hill cat cafe story before. But after talking with catrepreneur Caitlin Unsell, CHS is betting on Neko actually happening.
- Bauhaus’s sudden implosion was part of a sudden, total collapse of all of owner Joel Radin’s Seattle businesses. We heard back from the real estate people on their end of the story about why Bauhaus isn’t coming back to Melrose and Pine — but we never heard back from Radin after our initial contact.
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