There aren't signs on the building yet; but breads and croissants are baking away at the new second location for North Shore Boulangerie in Mequon.
The bakery softly opened on Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 11120 Weston Dr. in Mequon, welcoming guests to the bright, well-appointed counter service bakery with an abbreviated menu of coffee drinks, breakfast pastries, soup and a selection of breads, many of which sold out well before noon.
A grand opening is planned for Feb. 12-14, at which time guests will be treated to samples of the bakery’s pastries, along with a meet and greet with head chef Andrew Althoff (who produces items like quiches and soups for the Mequon location, as well as a larger menu for the Shorewood cafe) and head pastry chef and Mequon general manager M.K. Drayna (pictured), who heads up production of the bakery’s sweet treats.
The bakery will also unveil its refrigerated pastry case filled with Valentine’s Day themed desserts, including selections like chocolate covered strawberry entremets (mousse cakes) and lavender tarts.
For now, guests can stop in steaming cups of hot Cafés Richard coffee (a medium roast coffee from Paris), croissants, quiche, soup and wedges of country omelette, along with housemade breads including baguettes, country loaves, Alsatian rye and variouus flavored fougasse.
Bigtime bakery upgrades
North Shore Boulangerie is part of the quickly expanding multi-use Foxtown development, a 14 acre parcel of land being developed by Tom Neiman, owner of Fromm Family Pet Foods. The expansive property is currently home to Foxtown Brewing Co., 6411 W. Mequon Rd., a brewery, beer hall and restaurant which opened last fall, along with a private events venue, catering hub, amphitheatre, single family homes, and more office and retail spaces, including a butcher shop.
The new NSB bakery and production facility is not only an asset to the Mequon market, but also a game changer for the Shorewood bakery, which has avoided expanding its list of wholesale clients in recent years, due to a lack of capacity.
“We truly couldn’t have baked more bread if we tried,” says owner Gene Webb. “But now we can actually take on accounts and better serve those that we already have.”
The new Mequon baking facility, which will now produce all the baked goods for both locations, includes three kitchen spaces: a two-room area for bread and a pastry kitchen.
The star of the show is the bakery’s new French Bongard oven, boasting twice the capacity of the Shorewood boulangerie’s ovens, but also more efficient baking, thanks to its hefty baking stones and air-tight doors.
“The oven is a dream,” says Webb. “In France it’s the top of the line bread oven. It bakes really evenly, and it’s a really robust steam generator.”
The steam is the secret behind a baguette’s crisp crust. On the one hand, it keeps the outside of the bread flexible for a longer period of time, allowing it to rise effectively. But, since moisture also retains heat, the moisture on the exterior of the bread also encourages exterior browning and a thicker crust.
Meanwhile, the pastry kitchen is also stocked with top of the line equipment, including a laminator and Bongard proofing oven for croissants and pastries.
Thanks to the new facility, Drayna says customers at both bakery locations will be able to enjoy a wider variety of desserts overall, from mousse-filled entremets to variations of Opera cake. There will also be items like cookies, biscotti and creatively filled croissants.
Webb says the bakery was really a serendipitous project that, in the end, came together rather quickly. Two years ago, he was brought in as a consultant to assist in building out a bakery for the Foxtown development. But the intention was never to open a second location.
“In the planning process, I did build my dream bakery,” Webb says. “But I’d expected that the consulting was the extent of my role,” he says, noting that everything changed at the end of 2020. “Tom [Nieman] asked me: ‘Now that you’ve designed it, do you want it?’... and the obvious answer was yes.”
After a series of negotiations, Webb signed a lease on the space in December, along with a contract to develop and provide bakery products for the Foxtown restaurant (goods like pretzel baguettes and marble rye).
“Ultimately, this is a great move for us,” says Webb. “And we’re excited to see how the community responds.”
North Shore Boulangerie Mequon is open daily. Hours are Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.