Detroit is a city with quite a few bakeries specializing in pastries, pies, and cakes, but until now only a handful have devoted themselves to bread. Recently restaurants have picked up some of the slack by bringing on bakers to develop rustic breads for sandwiches and as a canvas for rich spreads. But for residents seeking out a crusty loaf to take home and enjoy, the options have been relatively limited. That seems to finally be changing this year with several new bread-focused bakeries on the horizon. One of these hotly anticipated bread havens Ochre Bakery debuted in a lowkey way last week in Core City.
Astro Coffee owners Jessica Hicks and Dai Hughes set out to open the Core City shop several years ago with the goal of starting a roastery for Astro’s new line of coffee beans and a large bakery devoted to naturally leavened, heritage grain breads. The pair met baker Max Leonard during visits to the Corktown Farmers Market where he was running a bread stand at the time. A few years later Ochre has finally come to life.
The cafe is located in the Sawtooth Building, just across from the forthcoming Magnet restaurant and the True North Quonset huts. It has bright and neutral white interior designed by Et al. Collaborative. A long counter decorated with painted tile houses the espresso machine and pastry case. It fills the length of the narrow front room with small tables, booths, and a grab-and-go fridge flanking both sides. Behind the counter, visitors can catch a glimpse of the glass-enclosed, temperature and humidity-controlled pastry room.
During the mornings, Ochre functions much like a typical coffee shop with espresso drinks and pastries available from the case, but around 10:30 a.m. the menu transitions into lunch with specially prepared sandwiches and soups ranging from around $8.50 to $15. Customers can look forward to options like braised lamb shoulder sandwiches with lemony yogurt, salad greens, and herbs alongside meatball sandwiches with fennel, parsley, pecorino salad, and aioli. Several slices of crusty bread drizzled in fragrant olive oil come with a rainbow of different spreads for dipping.
Leonard, who previously ran a (not so) #secretbakery, out of his home in Hamtramck has spent the past several weeks getting a feel for the much larger capacity bakery operation at Ochre. For now he’s sticking to a core selection of breads ranging from baguettes to sesame country loaves to olive bread to flatbreads. Each has a distinctively sour flavor developed from Leonard’s own starter. “I want to make sure that we are really on top of all these [styles],” Leonard tells Eater. “Then as we get more in the rhythm and these are under control, I’d like to expand and do more whole grain or specialty breads.” Although Ochre certainly has the capacity to grow into more wholesale baking operations with its facility, Leonard says the cafe is focused on supplying itself and Astro for now.
Eater took a tour of Ochre Bakery this week to scope out the interior and the menu. Take a look around the space in the gallery below.
Ochre Bakery is located at 4884 Grand River Ave.; open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
• New Bakery From Astro Coffee Team Lands in Core City This Fall [ED]
• Meet the Mind Behind the Bread at Forthcoming Ochre Bakery [ED]
• Detroit’s Most Anticipated Restaurant and Bar Openings, Spring 2019 [ED]
• All Eater Inside Coverage [ED]
• All Openings Coverage [ED]
• All Ochre Bakery Coverage [ED]