I wrote a sweet little piece of fluff on Fort Bragg's new artisanal bakery and its hulking wood-burning brick oven.
Normally, I'm not one for quaintness. And I especially bridle at the idea that the way to resurrect America's abandoned downtowns is to rebuild them in the image of the past — as if cutesy storefronts, Victorian architectural detailing and million-dollar sidewalk widening projects can replace a local economy built on something besides retirement accounts and a historic pot bubble.
And yes, Fort Bragg Bakery is cute to the point of quaint, with food that borders on overpriced (a $10 salad that skimps on toppings and no table service?). But the Kump's vision isn't just to be a charming, old-fashioned bakery serving flaky pastries and overpriced lattes to out-of-towners and window shoppers. The Kumps aim to do something else. They hope to build a commercially viable wholesale bakery — to not only hock their wares from their own storefront, but to distribute bread to restaurants throughout the region. They aim to be an industry, in other words, and to produce their breads on scale.
The oven is nice too.