1. Coyle’s Bakeshop
Greenwood, 8300 Greenwood Ave. N; 206.257.4736
When Rachael Coyle opened her bakeshop in Greenwood more than three years ago, she says, “I selfishly created a place making the things I wanted,” along with a place to sit and enjoy them. Thankfully for the pastry chef, formerly of The Herbfarm and Le Pichet, the rest of Seattle also wanted an adorably Instagrammable place serving adeptly executed mini cardamom kouign amann ($2), pain au chocolat ($3.25) and the most tender cream scones ($3). While her croissant-pretzel combo, the cretzel ($3.25), caught on immediately, she says customers have stuck around for the rest of her pastries, many of which are more traditionally French. “I’d love if Google changed our description from ‘hip-mashups,’” she says, laughing. Perhaps it needs updating anyway: Coyle’s now has a beer and wine license and is planning more evening uses for the space—including dessert nights, which give Coyle a chance to reprise her restaurant pastry chef skills with dishes like soufflés, crème brûlée and profiteroles.
TIP: Though it began as a sporadic event, afternoon tea is now served at Coyle’s (by reservation only) on Sundays twice a month. The hour-and-a-half event is part tasting menu and part classic high tea, with a collection of eight or so small dishes both savory and sweet, from tomato shortcake to Pavlovas with marionberry sorbet.
ICING ON THE CAKE: Before taking over this Ballard bakeshop, Suzanne Rosellini had a business making custom layer cakes (her chocolate is now a neighborhood favorite)
Ballard, 1413 NW 70th St.; 206.706.4035
Two years ago, Suzanne Rosellini did a crazy thing: She bought Honoré, the beloved Ballard bakery with the legendary kouign amann ($3.50), spent three frenzied weeks folding croissants with the original owner and quietly swapped the name on the door. The self-taught baker didn’t even close the business to make the change official. “I think [regulars] were nervous,” she says. “But it feels really good to know they still like it here.”
In fact, the neighborhood is crazy for Rosellini’s, which—in addition to the ham and cheese croissants and apple turnovers that put Honoré in the spotlight—now sells cakes by the slice, loaves of brioche and baguettes, beautiful fruit galettes, bags of granola and more. Rosellini herself is feeling less stressed now, more assured and more able to focus on adding new items that put her own stamp on the pastry case. “It was great before, but it’s definitely evolving more into me, my vision and what I want to do.”
TIP: Wait until 9 a.m. for a visit—the kouign amann, still the stuff of legend, usually isn’t out of the oven before then.
DYNAMIC DUO: Owner Evan Andres and pastry chef Marlena Zatloukal work side by side to keep up with the neighborhood demand for Columbia City Bakery’s tasty treats
In the 13 years since Evan Andres opened Columbia City Bakery, as the neighborhood around him changes rapidly, one thing has stayed the same. “Everyone is inventing things,” he says, alluding to pastry sensations like the Cronut. “We just stick with the classics.” Those classics, such as the baguettes ($5.50), croissants ($3.75) and Danishes ($4), earned him the status of being a four-time semifinalist for a James Beard Award. But he and his pastry chef, Marlena Zatloukal, aren’t resting on their laurels.
“People want the same things, always,” says Zatloukal, so the two aim to keep it up while still refining quality, even as they continually get busier. This year, the bakery purchased its own grain mill to improve its whole wheats and ryes.
TIP: While the bakery itself is the only place to sit down with a coffee and one of its stellar breakfast sandwiches (which received some national love from The New York Times earlier this year), Columbia City’s incredible baguettes are available around town, including at restaurants FlintCreek Cattle Co. and Sitka & Spruce, and can be bought from the latter’s pantry to take home.
CANDY MAN: A talented pastry chef, William Leaman has fallen hard for making chocolate (from truffles to bars to mousses) in the new Burien location of Bakery Nouveau
4. Bakery Nouveau
West Seattle, Capitol Hill and Burien
When William and Heather Leaman opened the original West Seattle location of Bakery Nouveau 12 years ago, the pastry landscape of Seattle was a different place. With the uptick in new bakeries opening, William Leaman says, they’ve had to diversify—always “trying to stay innovative and ahead of the curve.” No other bakery walks the line so comfortably between savory and sweet: Take the very best twice-baked almond croissant ($4.25). A deceptively simple ham and cheese baguette sandwich. Pizza by the square. Loaves of bread. Macarons. Expertly crafted chocolates. Even gelato. Leaman’s King Midas touch applies to it all.
Leaman’s current sweetheart is the bakery’s newest location, which he opened just over a year ago in Burien (its Capitol Hill location opened in 2013). That’s where he’s added a chocolate laboratory to make spectacularly decadent truffles; elaborate, festive molded chocolates; single-origin bars; and the chocolate that goes into mousses, fillings and even his chocolate croissants. It’s also where he’s found a sort of old Seattle affordability: “My customers and employees all live in the same neighborhood,” he says. “And that’s an environment for positive growth.”
TIP: Bakery Nouveau was serving cakes by the slice long before it was a hip thing to do. Get the German chocolate ($5 per slice)—a tried-and-true classic.
MIXING IT UP: New owner Susien Lee has big plans for Fuji Bakery; find Japanese- and French-inspired pastries on the evolving menu
5. Fuji Bakery
Bellevue, Chinatown–International District, Interbay
It was over the course of regular visits for the white Japanese bread known as shokupan that Susien Lee fell in love with Fuji Bakery. A Cordon Bleu–trained baker who had a previous, short career in catering, Lee had always dreamed of opening her own bakery, and she jumped at the chance to buy Fuji when it came up for sale in the summer of 2017.
Although the bakery—known for its square loaves and innovative, Japanese-inspired savory pastries—has had some stumbling blocks over the years, we’re happy to report that under Lee’s guidance, the current lineup is worthy of another visit. She’s working with bakers Yushi Osawa and Koji Masuda, who have been at the bakery for more than seven years. And she’s spent the past year redefining Fuji’s identity: “We used to see ourselves more as a Japanese bakery, but our techniques are really based in French technique. [Above all else,] we’re fusion.”
Japanese staples like savory, satisfying curry buns ($3) and that fluffy shokupan ($8 per loaf) are still available, as are French pastries, including croissants. But Lee is introducing other international favorites, such as cupcakes, panna cotta, sourdough and katsu sandwiches. It’s still an evolution, but one worth paying attention to.
TIP: Eastsiders, take note: Although Fuji already has a Bellevue location, it’s planning to open an additional Eastside bakery, probably sometime in 2020.