American Gems: Balthazar Bakery
Settled in lower Manhattan’s once industrial neighborhood, Balthazar Bakery is a hidden French jewel in a very New York scene. Where ageing fire escapes grace the facades of cast iron buildings, the bakery is located on Spring Street adjacent to one of the busiest retail thoroughfares in the district. The unassuming storefront is modestly lined with an assortment of fresh breads and adorned with bright red awnings over a narrow pedestrian walkway.
Balthazar Bakery is the brainchild of Keith McNally, a New York City native whose been in the restaurant scene since the early 1980’s. McNally opened Balthazar Bakery in 1997 as an extension to its parent restaurant Balthazar. The bakery has earned its reputation as one of the New York’s best boulangerie per Parisian brasserie standards.
Upon entering, the ladies behind the counter greet visitors with thorough service etiquette. From the mirrored ceiling to the tightly tiled floors, the miniature shop is a decedent replica of a classic French bakery. If luck finds it suitable, one might catch the bakery without a crowd, stripping it down to its bare elements, and revealing the simple nature that makes it what it is. This rare quiet moment captures its warmth and dimly lit charm.
The collection of baked goods continues into the interior space as it wraps along the shelves behind the cash register and tops off behind a spotless glass case with sweet cakes sprawled out in an orderly fashion. Fresh baked signature breads and buttery pastries are prepared daily. It is nearly impossible to make it home without devouring its goodness immediately after leaving the store. Baked goods are meant to be enjoyed in the company of hot coffee or tea so don’t forget to snag a cup for the long train ride home. — Loannie Dao, Senior Writer and Founder of Theory of Place