When you hear the term bakery, you likely envision sweet treats and homemade loaves of fresh bread. You’ll find that along with ever-changing dinner menus, event space and a new speakeasy bar at Elm Street Bakery, which is now 7 years old.
Owners Kim and Jay DePerno are constantly working to reinvigorate the business they founded with new inspiration.
After noticing the bread schedule attracting attention on Facebook, I reached out to Kim to talk about bread - plus how dietary trends affect business, and how French and Danish sandwiches serve as strong vehicles for Elm Street's specialty.
Question: Are customers following your bread schedule on social media?
DePerno: Yes. It’s exactly why we started doing it - instead of a bread schedule, it’s a "breadule" – people get particular about which bread they want and they get disappointed if we aren’t making it when they come in. We always have a paper copy at the counter and we post the breadule on Facebook and the website. It changes slightly every week with the seasons. The sourdoughs are really popular.
Q: Have low-carb crazes impacted your business?
A: Thank goodness people are still eating bread – it would be sad if you never had bread again. I was a French student. I can’t imagine not having bread as one of my meals for the day and sourdough is a natural preservative – the only thing in the bread is flour, water and salt – no preservatives like grocery store bread.
A lot of gluten-intolerant customers tell us that they can digest our bread. We make it in a time-honored way.
[Related: Explore Buffalo's bounty of breads]
Q: How do you feature bread in your menu items?
A: We have what’s called a tartine in French – it’s an open-face sandwich. I can take one piece of bread and top it with root vegetables and that’s a healthy, sustainable, local meal. I’m so passionate about nutrition. I hope Americans get political with food and want to support local farms. We have used local farmers over seven years so we have quite a network of farmers.
Q: Are you tying the bread into your dinner menu?
A: We are going to add tartine to our dinner menu - in Denmark it’s a smorrebrod. We have a 100 percent rye sourdough – it’s our healthiest bread with a two-week shelf life. We’re adding a smoked salmon smorrebrod to our menu – it is really nice and delicious and healthy.
Q: Where do you come up with all of your ideas?
A: If you’re a foodie, you have cookbooks by your bed. I constantly can’t help myself and I surround myself with chefs and bakers and I’m always gaining inspiration from travel and reading. Our chefs are incredible. I think we’re the kind of people who think about lunch at breakfast and dinner at lunch – we’re always thinking about the next thing we can make.
INFO: Elm Street Bakery
72 Elm St., East Aurora (652-4720)
Hours: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday.