Following the closure of Old South Pearl Street’s Pajama Baking Co. in June, Steven Roland tidied the space up and took over with the Boulangerie, a new European-style café to open Saturday, July 29.
New to Denver, Roland and his family, who reside in the neighborhood, stumbled upon the corner at 1595 South Pearl Street nearly three months ago. Though he didn’t purchase the building, Roland says he tried to make it “amicable for Russel [Tierney]” – the former owner of Pajama Baking Co. – “to exit.”
Calling it a “prime location,” the state of the 2,500-square-foot space was “an absolute pigsty,” Roland says. The shabby condition required a “top to bottom overhaul,” involving new floors, fresh paint, clean ventilation, tiling, carpentry, and more.
With blue-grey walls, wooden tables and a soon-to-be filled glass case with freshly baked goods, the coffee bar, and bakery are officially refreshed. Flowery chalk doodles are scattered and affixed to the walls and windows, adding flair without being excessive. The back kitchen is newly open – thanks to an oversize new baking oven tucked out of sight – with wooden paneling surrounding the threshold, allowing the space to flow and feel open.
Roland has lived and worked around the globe, with stints in Texas, various regions of Europe and California – where he worked under Pascal Rigo, a French-American restaurateur who owned a small empire of boulangeries in San Francisco. He landed in Denver this year at the urging of a local friend who also works as a chef.
Once all was settled with the space, the name of the game for the new Boulangerie is simplicity.
The menu starts with a handful of unassuming breakfast items, such as eggs florentine, poached eggs on toast with Prosciutto di Parma, pancake varieties including potato apple and spicy pumpkin. For daytime diners, an uncomplicated mix of salads, tarts and sandwiches ranges from romaine with grilled onions and roasted pine nuts to radicchio with breaded goat cheese and sun-dried tomato vinaigrette. The tarts – wild mushroom and applewood smoked bacon – are accompanied by three sandwiches, one Reuben, one turkey, and one vegetarian. For dessert, warm apple crisp with cinnamon ice cream and fresh strawberry tart with basil and creme fraiche are sure to send visitors on a sugar high.
The Boulangerie will also share its fresh croissants and other baked goods with Nixon’s, a not-too-distant coffee shop.
The cafe will serve drip coffee from new local brand, MORU, and Roland says he hopes to acquire a wine and beer license looking ahead.
The bakery will be open Tuesday through Sunday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and will begin serving desserts starting in a few weeks until 9:30 p.m.