Bohemian Bakery Moves In From The Boondocks

(Updated 2.2.17)

MONTPELIER — A bakery that got its start in East Calais Farmstead has moved into 78 Barre Street, formerly Posh Salon Spa. And before that, the building housed Steve’s Market for many years until 1986. The Bohemian group moved in supplies and hung their sign out over the weekend of Jan. 27 through 29.

They are not open for business yet in the new location.

Building owner is Canton Associates, LLC, who was represented by Cassandra Coakley, a dentist who lives in Waterbury Center at the Nov. 21 Design Review Committee meeting followed by the Development Review Board Meeting. Her husband, Mike Coakely, also attended. There representing Bohemian Bakery was Annie Bakst along with her husband, Robert Hunt.

The Bridge dropped by 78 Barre St. in person on Jan. 27 as a man and a woman were carrying in what looked like baking implements: trays, mixing accessories, etc., but they declined to talk to the press, saying, “We’re not ready.”

However, the announcement is alive and well on Facebook and on their website Website http://www.bohemianbakeryvt.com/

“We’ll be in our new home soon: 78 Barre Street, Montpelier, Vermont!” The website states. The hours will be as follows: Wednesday through Friday   7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday  8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Over at the design review meetings in November, they were seeking design review approval to reinstall a door, paint and trim and add signage — and they got it.

According to Cassandra Coakley during the committee meeting, the back door goes right down to the basement, “but we need to have a door to go into where the bakery is.” Since it used to be a market, there is a door that goes into the bakery area that they need to uncover. There are apartments above, but they have their own door.

“Black doors are getting popular on Barre Street,” it was noted.

Some concerns were raised by Philip Zalinger, Development Review Board chair, over ingress and egress from a parking spot in front of the establishment. Zalinger says he knows the spot well because he regularly plays basketball across the street at the Rec Center, and has seen some careless driving by patrons of the former business, such as driving on the crosswalk.

A concern over parking was voiced as well, but Bakst assured them the place is not intended to be a “hangout” — in fact, it will be a “screen free zone,” she said, according to video footage of the 11/21 meeting. People will be encouraged to get their coffee and pastry and go. This runs up against a concern brought by Sarah McShane, staff to the board, because “takeout” is not allowed under current ordinances.

But all concerns were smoothed over, and in the end, the business was seen to fit right in with the history and use of the neighborhood. “Barre Stret and Hubbard Street have accommodated uses there for 100 years and I think they will continue to do so,” said Zalinger.

The Coakleys, Bakst and Hunt got unanimous Development Review Board for conditional use. They were then urged to submit a proper site plan for approval.

From the website: “Annie Bakst and Robert Hunt met in the San Francisco Bay area in 1996. Annie is from NYC, Robert is from California. In 2003, they went looking for a place to open a wood-fired bread bakery, and discovered a jewel of a homestead in the hills north of Montpelier, Vermont. For ten years the massive brick oven gave forth big crusty loaves of sourdough for the local co-ops — until these two maniacs decided to sell pastry and espresso to any and all, right from their shop on a remote country road. On Sundays. In addition to the bread.”

“Well, it all proved too much, so the bread oven was retired in 2014. But people kept coming for the Sunday soiree. And kept coming. The line got so long for fresh-baked flaky pastries and cappuccino that some folks stopped coming. Like Yogi Berra said:  “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”

“So these two crazies decided – “Let’s move this circus into town!” And so they did. And now folks can enjoy their goodies five days a week instead of one. Within walking distance of the smallest Capital City in the USA.”

Canton Associates, LLC, is registered to Cassandra Coakely, and is in business for rental of residential property, according to the Vermont Secretary of State website. The company started in 2010 and is based in located in Waterbury Center.