For all of the success our television show enjoys bright and early on Sunday mornings, about once a month I hear from someone who says something like “Sorry Jesse, not getting up that early on a Sunday for you or anyone else.” Fair enough, I get it. 7:30am on Sunday is early but that’s why some smart guy invented the DVR.
What if I told you, however, that now you had another reason to wake up that early on a Sunday morning? And unlike missing out on my poor attempts at humor on TV, if you slept in, you might just miss out on some of the best baked goods in town? Yes. This is a true story. There is a new bakery in town that is doing some fantastic work. But the only time you can get your hands on what they are whipping up is early on Sundays.
Kaytlin Bryant and Mark Ekstron are the driving forces behind Auspicious Bakery. A tiny bake shop on Skidaway Road in Savannah near Derenne. If you are familiar with the area, they are in the same space where Dolores Montoya had Just Desserts for almost a decade before moving on to Real Estate last year.
Auspcious has been open since June. You could say their arrival was a quiet one, but that wouldn’t be entirely true. You see, Kaytlin and Mark have been in Savannah for a few years after moving here from their native Pennsylvania. They each worked on River Street at Boars Head Grill and Tavern for a few years before Kaytlin took at position at the very popular Rum Runners on Montgomery and Bolton Streets.
“We always knew we wanted to do something in hospitality” she says. “We entertained the idea of a B&B back home, but we wanted warmer weather.”
Kaytlin says she is fortunate to have worked with a lot of chefs that taught her what it would take to be successful in a kitchen. The pastry part of the equation was all her own research. Clearly there was passion there. “I never wanted to be an Executive Chef. My grandma was a baker. Her tradition was cinnamon raisin cookies.”
A couple of years ago, they started looking for a space. No rush, really. If they found something they loved, they’d take it, if not, they’d take their time. The space on Skidaway Road came open and they jump on it.
While the build out was going on, they were baking breads, testing their recipes and wound up sharing their loaves with co-workers on River Street. The homemade bread got so popular they had a built-in clientele before they had a bakery to sell anything out of. “We were selling $5 loaves at work 2 months before we opened.” Mark says. “We actually had to cut out making bread for friends so we’d have time to build out this space ahead of our opening.”
The good news that came from that was when it came time to finally open the doors to their bakery on a Sunday morning, they had some friends lining up to get their hands on the fresh baked bread. Add in some word of mouth on the street and Auspicious shot out of a cannon on the bakery scene. Truth be told, I was first alerted to this new spot by another very talented baker in town on Father’s Day. “It’s legit” she said. I don’t disagree.
Breads and the specialty croissants are the most popular at Auspicious. “The first week we sold 50 ham and cheese croissants” Kaytlin says. “Week 2 we sold 70. Week 3, 90. Last week we made 250 of them and sold them all.” Good problem to have, isn’t it?
That is a large part of the reason you can only find them open to the public on Sundays. They are doing all of the work themselves. The goal is to provide wholesale baked goods to area restaurants. Yes, there will be some retail, but in retail if it doesn’t sell same day, you’ve got to eat them (pun intended). They just wanted to start slow and see how demand affected what they would do from there.
“We’ve far surpassed where we thought we’d be at this point.” Mark says. “We are good with 1 day a week for now and the Richmond Hill Farmers Market on Tuesdays. We are already working 60 hours a week on the low end.” He says they regularly prepare for Sunday morning retail on 2 hours of sleep.
The lines at the bakery and the regular sell outs are an indicator that they are getting it right despite that lack of sleep. They will be adding some staff down the road, but they are clearly not in any kind of a hurry. Slow growth is the best kind.
In the short term, forgive me for doing so, but I’ve already planned your Sunday morning. You really don’t have a choice now. Eat It and Like It with Jesse Blanco 7:30am, finish up your coffee and race to Auspicious Bakery on Skidaway Road before it’s all gone. Thank us later.
See you on TV,