Q&A With Bakeshop’s Jonathan St. Hilaire

Almost a year from the date of its opening, Midtown bakery Bakeshop, run by award-winning chef Jonathan St. Hilaire, has split from its partnership with Concentrics Restaurants. (In a press release, both parties portrayed the split as amiable.) I caught up with St. Hilaire right after the announcement and asked him a few quick questions about his plans for the future as an independent operator.

What are your plans for Bakeshop now that you are an independent operator?
JSH: To just keep trying to make it a great neighborhood bakery. I love Midtown, I always have, so it has always been very important to follow that vision of being a great little neighborhood spot. After being open for almost a year, we have learned a great deal about the people of Midtown and vice versa, so really we just want to keep producing and serving great pastries, breads, sandwiches, and coffee consistently.
What specific changes, if any, are you planning to make ?
JSH: No serious changes really—new artwork maybe for the interior, compliments of my mother-in-law. She has been kind enough to do some fantastic paintings for the bakery. We will be debuting a new fall menu the week of Labor Day that will include new sandwiches, pastries, a Saturday & Sunday breakfast menu—and we will be starting our new fall cooking classes schedule.
What do you see are your biggest challenges going forward?
JSH: From a production standpoint, the rise [in price] of commodities like flours and sugars. From an operational standpoint, not getting so caught up in what is going on with the economy and just focusing on making the business as successful as it can be.
What are you most excited about?
JSH: Cooler weather. You have no idea what heat and humidity does to the consistency of bread and pastries. It truly adds about twenty more headaches per week.


Heather Hurlbert, executive pastry chef at the Cherokee Town and Country Club has been selected to compete in this season’s Top Chef: Just Desserts.

The seventh annual Party in the Kitchen event will be held on Thursday, September 9, 2010 at Mason Murer Fine Art Gallery. The soiree benefits Open Hand, which provides medically-appropriate meals and nutrition education to seniors and individuals living with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, HIV/AIDS and cancer. The evening will feature a wide variety of extraordinary dishes prepared by many of Atlanta’s best chefs.

Tomorrow’s News Today has compiled a timely listing of restaurant openings and expansions slated for this fall.

Buckhead. After an extensive renovation designed by The Johnson Studio, Buckhead Life Restaurant Group’s private dining and special events restaurant 103 West has reopened.

Thrillist is reporting that Java Blues, a coffee house and bakery, has opened at 1171 LaVista Road.

. Decatur Metro reports that McGowen’s Pub is now open at 321 W. Hill Street ,next to Palates Café and Bar.

Downtown. What Now Atlanta notes that work on 3D custom mural for Der Biergarten, scheduled to open in time for Octoberfest, has begun.

Midtown. Tomorrow’s News Today first mentioned that Nonna Mia has closed.

Question of the Week: What upscale barbecue catering service is serving lunch on Fridays out of its new work space?
PS. The answer to last week’s QOTW—What former Atlanta superchef is now a VP at an Atlanta-based food services consultant firm?—is Guenter Seeger. He is VP for Retail Services for Neogen International.