When you think of Williamsburg, VA chances are your mind goes first to history. This city is home to Colonial Williamsburg, one of the largest “living history museums” in the United States, comprising a whole district of the city and featuring hundreds of restored buildings from the 1700s and 1800s. Here you can visit period-correct reconstructed historic sites including taverns, blacksmith shops, a gunsmith and even an historic jail, where the dread pirate Blackbeard once served time (in 1704).
But what about a good cup of coffee? Less than a mile from the visitors center, The Bake Shop is a newly opened coffee bar built to keep those seeking history fully caffeinated (so as to truly enjoy it all). When we say there’s great coffee to be found almost everywhere these days, this is what we mean.
As told to Sprudge by Rebekah Olson.
We are an offshoot of Against The Grain Hospitality, a local restaurant group in Williamsburg, VA that is the owner of The Amber Ox Public House. Inspired by a desire to build our bakery program at the restaurant and fill a local void of third wave coffee, The Bake Shop space crafts hand-rolled bagels, breads, pastries, and sources beans from Virginia-based roasters who prioritize transparency and quality along their sourcing lines.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
The Bake Shop is designed to give you the feeling of walking into the bakery production space. With no indoor seating, the kitchen and front of house space is highly integrated. With baskets full of bagels and bread, and shelves lined with bags of coffee and alternative milks, our hope is that everyone who enters our shop can immediately sense our dedication to our products, and feel the hustle and bustle of people at work.
What’s your approach to coffee?
As a company we pride ourselves on commitment to craft across each of the businesses. With a brewery, cocktail bar, farm-to-table restaurant, and now bakery and coffee space, we are excited by the opportunity to provide Williamsburg with intentionally-sourced and crafted beverages. By partnering with top-notch roasters in Virginia, we are able to ensure quality along each step of the process from plant to cup. We aim to provide a wide variety on our menu as far as origins, varieties, and roast approach. We offer a single origin and blend option on drip, at least two single origin pour-over options, and a varied espresso program at all times. Our syrups are all housemade and rotate seasonally to allow for an array of coffee flavor combinations, and include drink specials from our grapefruit mint cold brew or strawberry tarragon sparkling americano, to a pina colada latte. Our goal is to educate our community on everything coffee can be: elevated, interesting, and sustainable. We prioritize unpretentious, friendly, and informed service in hopes of introducing the world of specialty coffee to our small community. We hope to meet every guest where they are while also having opportunities to surprise and impress them.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
Opening a new shop during a global pandemic certainly requires a scrappy attitude. We new we wanted a La Marzocco Linea, and managed to find a fairly new one on Facebook Marketplace of all places that had a good deal on a Mahlkönig K30 Twin as well. We purchased much of the additional coffee equipment from the dessert shop previously in the space.
How is your project considering sustainability?
As a shop that sells all of its products as to-go options, we are still working on decreasing our single-use plastic and carbon footprint. With a fully vaccinated staff, we are excited to increase our reusable beverage and packaging options. Our coffee grounds and compostables go to a local farm who provides vegetables to our community. Working with roasters who pay above fair trade pricing and have direct trade options ensures transparency and sustainability along sourcing lines as well.
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
We opened this past March 2021!
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
We are incredibly grateful to Justified Bakeshop who existed in the space prior to us for supporting us and facilitating our transition so smoothly. We had the benefit of having many talented woodworkers and builders on our staff and accomplished all of our cabinetry and design in house.
Thank you so much!