Bywater Opens a New Bakeshop Window in Warren
The restaurant constructed a new bakery window on the corner, offering coffee drinks, croissants, cookies, sandwiches, fresh-baked bread and more.
Quick pandemic pivots are the norm nowadays. Bywater in Warren got extra crafty by building a bakery window on the side of the restaurant. Bakeshop is an adorable alcove on the corner of Water and State streets where guests can stop by for coffee and lattes, housemade croissants, cookies, breakfast and lunch sammies and fresh-baked bread.
“It was definitely a pandemic baby,” says Bywater owner Katie Dickson. “We had always lamented the lack of a real good [naturally leavened sourdough and baguette] bakery in downtown ever since I moved here ten years ago. Everyone has always said it and we’ve all been waiting for that person to move to town and open a bakery, but it never happened.”
The Bywater crew took matters into their own hands. Dickson had experimented with sourdough at home for fun, and decided it was time to bring housemade bread to the masses in Warren. They quickly applied for an Adaption Grant through Rhode Island Commerce, and earned the funds to make it happen in December. She hired bakery consultant Kathryn Phelan to help scale up the bread business for their new bakery and she designated Sophie Short, who previously worked for New Harvest Coffee Roasters, to adapt their coffee program using carefully sourced beans from Pavement in Boston. They developed some fun lattes on the menu, including ginger masala and vanilla cardamom flavors along with the usual espresso, cortados and cappuccino.
Already on Bywater’s staff as a line cook, Ben Hayes had previously worked at Ellie’s and had pastry arts experience perfecting laminated croissants and other treats. “We had a lot of great people come our way who had bread and pastry experience,” Dickson says. “It just clicked for me where I was like I would be such a fool to waste all of their talent and experience.”
But they needed extra space and ovens to bring the Bakeshop to fruition, so they tapped into nearby Hope and Main for equipment and capacity. “Our Bywater kitchen is minuscule and we only have one little oven. When we make our Irish bread here, it’s one batch at a time. That would not work for the bakery,” Dickson says. “The whole Bakeshop is sourced out of Hope and Main. We’re there almost every day. They are fabulous to work with.” The breads are freshly baked using natural levain and a combination of locally milled white, wheat and rye flours from Ground Up stone-milled flours in Hadley, Massachusetts.
They used the Adaptation grant to build the window on the side of the restaurant where the guest waiting area used to be inside the restaurant. Bywater is currently only offering outdoor dining and takeout, so it made sense to have an alternative use for the space. The window is open for service Thursdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and it will also be open during weekend brunch service for takeout options. Online ordering is encouraged.
Recently, the Bywater team made a new purchase that will make the summer even more fun. They bought the Butterbang bike cart from Brian Leosz and they are planning to use it at Hope and Main’s Schoolyard Market when the events start back up again on Wednesday nights in June. Dickson is trying to get the proper licensing to sell beer and wine from it along with breads and pastries.
“That was another serendipitous thing. I had been talking about how to transport our bread from Hope and Main to the Bakeshop in a way that was more eco-friendly than driving back and forth,” says Dickson. “We had joked about how cute it would be to get a cargo bike and then seventy-two hours later, Brian put it up on Instagram that he was selling his cargo bike. I was like ‘Oh man, this is too good.’”
Bakeshop will start selling baguettes, loaves and boules and pastries at Hope and Main Schoolyard Market on Wednesday nights in June from 4-7 p.m., as well as at the Mount Hope Farm farmers market on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. starting on May 15, and Industrious Spirit Company on May 22 and 29.
Eventually, Dickson knows that Bakeshop will outgrow Bywater. It’s possible they might look for a new nearby home for it in the future. “Everything is mobile. It will eventually open indoors as soon as we feel it’s safe and restrictions are lifted,” Dickson says. “We can move things around. The aim is to keep it going and there’s potential to put it in its own separate home close by.”
The bottom line is, Bakeshop is here to stay.