If you’re driving around Poncey-Highland early on a Saturday morning, you’re likely to spot a line of people outside a historic row of buildings not far from Fishmonger and East Pole Coffee Co. Come closer, and an invigorating aroma wafts into your nostrils. A small sign on the window reads “Colette Bread & Bakeshop.”
Led by Sarah Dodge—formerly with 8Arm and owner of pop-up/subscription service Bread is Good—Colette opened in late July with limited operating hours. Dodge tried to launch quietly, but on day one, the line stretched down the block. She had 110 orders in an hour and a half.
“Lines are very stressful for me. Atlanta has this pop-up culture vibe, and it’s like, get it while it lasts. That gets hectic for a little bakery,” she says. “Someone fainted in line the first [week]. Our stuff is good, and we love it, but it’s not worth fainting for.” She designed Colette to be a welcoming, flexible space—“a place you pop in, grab a pastry, eat it fresh, and move on with your day. So, it feels like good bread and pastry blended into your daily life, as opposed to making it this big ordeal.”
As Dodge settled into the neighborhood and expanded Colette’s hours—it’s now open Thursday through Saturday mornings—the lines died down but did not disappear. Onix Ramirez lives nearby and visits Colette weekly, if not twice a week. “I try to arrive 15 minutes before they open to be the first one. I love their breads and usually get an assortment of pastries to share,” she says. Dodge and her team have been working to stagger offerings, so they can keep fresh items coming whenever the store is open. Depending on the time of day, you can expect a selection of cinnamon rolls, sweet and savory turnovers and tarts, bagels, focaccia, Nutella buns, and brioche. Coffee vendors, including Harbor Coffee, often set up shop inside on the weekends.
Dodge recently added ready-made lunch options. She has plans to open on Sundays, host minimarkets with other vendors on Tuesday evenings, and teach baking classes. “My favorite way to reach people is through teaching,” she says.
This article appears in our December 2023 issue.