Clean, Fresh, Local Foods. Affordable, Seasonal Breakfasts & Lunches, Artisanal Loaves made with NY flours, From-Scratch Baked Goods and Desserts, all prepared in-house from responsibly grown, primarily local ingredients.

540 Delaware Avenue
Albany, NY 12209


Wed: 6 & 8pm Farm to Chef Dinners (reservation only)

Thurs/Fri: 11am-7pm

Sat/Sun: 11am-5pm

(kitchen open from 11 to 5, limited sandwich menu available between 5 and 7pm)
Loaves, Baked Goods, Sandwiches!

Please visit our website for current menu and supplier information:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Why Aren't We Open More Hours? Special Late Night Post

Aside from detailed answers we give to questions about our ingredients, the nature of which we gladly divulge, the question we are most often asked to answer is: When will you be open more hours?  As of right now, there are three reasons we aren't quite ready to make that jump yet:

1) When we were looking for a kitchen to rent to bake for our Community Supported Bakery members in the fall of 2010, we found almost zero affordable, leasable real-estate or rent-by-the-hour kitchen relatively close to our home near Delaware Ave. We lucked into finding our spot on Quail St. through an unlikely source: the Albany Health Department.  The main go-to person for restaurant permitting at the AHD is Maryanne Stone - she was helpful and patient with our repeated phone calls & questions, AND she ultimately recommended Mark Guido (of Guido's Frozen Desserts, a mobile Italian Ice truck in businesses in Albany for more than 15 years) who had a 495 foot kitchen/retail space to rent on Quail St. (tiny: yes; about 3 miles from our home & affordable for 24 hour-access: boons!).

We chose to build our business with cash (no debt), so taking on the additional overhead was a daunting prospect.  We happened to know another small producer from the Delmar Farmers Market (Gatherer's Granola, Sandro Gerbini) who had grown out of his current production situation at Java Jazz Cafe in Delmar (recently closed, have you heard a new vegan restaurant has opened there?).  AGB & Gatherer's, recognizing and suffering from the severe lack of affordable commercial kitchen space available in Albany for small-food producers to grow, decided to secure the space together.  Combining this partnership with the investment of our shareholders through our CSB, AGB was able to put down a deposit, pay the first month's rent and purchase a used 20 qt. Hobart mixer (with the rest of the capital going to ingredients, permits & providing for our family through the winter).  Sandro invested in an oven and huge refigerator, we all navigated the City of Albany/Health Dept./Ag & Markets permitting processes (+ building, electrical, planning dept, City Clerk, the list goes on...NOT simple), and whoopdidoo!  Whaddya know? We're in business!  The headiness of that idea still smacks Nick & I in the face sometimes when we arrive at the bakery early morning, or are about to open our doors.  We OWN our own bakery!  Thrilling stuff.

Going through the experience of trying like hell, for months, to find affordable kitchen space to rent in Albany-proper led us to the idea of starting a Bakers Co-op.  Gatherer's & AGB are growing, so together we are currently occupying the kitchen for the majority of hours, but Fluffalicious Cupcakes rents our space on Mondays while they complete their new bakery in Cohoes, and we have other prospects clamoring to get in.  Together, we have the fortunate (unfortunate for prospectors) situation of needing the kitchen for most of the hours available.  In the long term, we hope to gather other local, stellar bakers with philosophies similar to ours (and complimentary products) to bring Albany a group of "All Good Bakers" who can help staff the shop full time, offer their wares and make a living.  For now, our partnership with Gatherer's Granola and other small-producers keeps our head above water.

B: Nick and I have a 4 year old daughter (when she was in the womb, we affectionately called her "The Kid").  Running a small business, even "part-time", based on the rigorous standards we have for the absolute freshness of our products, requires sometimes 20 hours a day (or more) when we're open from Nick, who prepares & bakes almost everything.  Days "off" are spent handling accounting; marketing; researching ingredients; developing relationships with suppliers, wholesale clients & event coordinators; ordering materials; driving to our farmers to pick up fresh produce, and handling various other bakery errands.  Wedged in there, we have to carve out quality time & meals with The Kid, who is suffering from our change in schedule & lifestyle at the moment.  We're finding ways to handle that challenge.

And #3:  We are growing slowly on purpose!  Everything we do is "bootstrapped".  While Nick & I have both worked in restaurants & customer service most of our adult lives, we don't have accounting, business, marketing or food-service degrees.  We're learning as we go.  I'm a research fiend, so we make up the difference that way (+ through building community relationships).  We bake as much as we can handle with the part-time help of a couple of friends, and take care of the remainder of requirements ourselves when not at the shop.  We're small and will remain that way.  We don't intend to become the next Panera Bread - you won't see our wares doctored & carelessly mass-produced at any point in the future.  We believe in supporting our neighbors and their creative talents (just as we are supported).  The integrity of the quality and personality of our business is of the utmost importance to us to maintain.  There's something intuitive about our feelings on this subject - we're not thinking analytically & strategically like a large chain might.  Our business decisions are based on our intimate knowledge of what's going on in our community, and what we perceive people (including ourselves) really caring about. 

Healthy balance, and a positive, manageable quality of life are among our goals.  So is following our dream of bringing our breads, baked goods & healthy lunches, that encompass our philosophy, passion & talents, to our community based on one main tenant: REAL FOOD. No preservatives, no chemicals, no antibiotics, hormones or GMO.  No Greenwashing.  No Bullshit (sorry for the expletive, but that particular word sums things up nicely in this case, and it's late after a long day - that's my excuse for lack of more appropriate language).

So, that's the long answer.  The short answer is: We'll open for more hours when we can handle it and the universe aligns with our talents, available time & goals.

All in good time, friends, all in good time.  Rest assured we'll keep you posted and we will work towards these goals (almost) tirelessly. is important.   Think I'll get some now...12:05 pm.  Have to be up in 5 hours for the farmers market.  Nick will be up in an hour.  Sympathize!

Your bakers,
Britin (& Nick) Foster


  1. Great post - thought I would drop you a line. You don't know me, and I've never been to your bakery, but I have followed your progress with the keen interest of a fellow traveler. My husband and I re-opened the Medusa General Store, in the western Albany county hilltown of Rensselaerville last year, after it had been shuttered for about 9 years. We grew up out here - and it has been a labor of love, primarily, bookended always with the faint glimmer of hope that it could eventually be a profitable enterprise. We stand behind our desire to be a general store, which is an idea that has to evolve with your community - so we are a whole foods store and full service deli. We also offer gasoline, sell tobacco and lots of beer, with all of the permitting and licensing and daily crises that are born from such endeavors. We are planning to expand into gifts and toys, and (hopefully) breads and pizzas. And, most importantly, we have three small homeschooled children. But our community is amazing - and they keep us going. There are never enough hours. Ever. Keep the faith - and know there are many of us out here who believe deeply in what you (and we) are doing!

  2. you guys are awesome! it makes me feel great to know that our participation in the CSB made such an impact. i will make sure to stop in more often for a loaf of bread.

    @april, i plan to make it out to your store one of these days.

    i'm still trying to figure out how i can do something food and community related for a living. i am so inspired by you guys!

  3. @ April, it's heartening to learn others' stories of creative achievements amongst struggle for family/life balance. Our heads are frequently spinning these days. I hope you, too will keep the faith! Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

    @ Renee, yours & other shareholders participation in our CSB did more than you know. There are numerous layers of positivity that came out of our first season, not the least of which were making many new friends & opening the bakery. Did you know we donated 1 year's worth of bread to Catholic Charities, just during the CSB? (54 loaves) We donate more now that we're open. Perhaps you could become a small-food producer photographer! We would happily barter for your services. Could be a good way to get started!

  4. You guys are truly inspiring! You can feel and taste the love in your product...I can only imagine how much hard work it is, but you are truly doing an awesome job