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Swissbäkers Readying for January Opening in Allston

[Photos: Rachel Leah Blumenthal]

The aroma of fresh-baked chocoweggli rolls, croissants, and loaves of pajazzo could be floating down Western Ave. by the end of January, according to Thomas and Helene Stohr, owners of Swissbäkers. Currently based out of a 400-square-foot shop out in Reading and appearing at various farmers' markets around town, Swissbäkers is putting down roots in Allston with a 2000-square-foot cafe attached to a massive production space. There will be around 100 seats indoors and another 40 at an outdoor patio. Cafe guests - the Stohrs, natives of Switzerland, prefer "guests" to "customers" - will find themselves in a red-and-white space with high tables by floor-to-ceiling windows, a play area for children, a fireplace, and various stations food stations. A small room off to the side will be available for meetings and parties; its wall will be painted with a giant mural of a river in Lucerne, Switzerland (Helene's hometown). The counter by the main entrance will be embellished by a tree-like structure stretching up from the floor, complete with an owl (not real, sadly) sitting amongst the branches.

The huge kitchen area is stark and bright with all machinery on wheels and stationed several feet from the walls. All of these features are meant to create a spotless work area that's easy to clean and maintain. The area is divided into three main work bays - one for baking (including a small pretzel-specific room in the corner), one for pastries, and one for catering. Each bay has its own temperature control, so the meats and vegetables in the catering area can be kept cooler than the baking areas. A particularly intriguing feature is the ventilation system that will deliberately direct the smells from the baking area into the dining area.

Not only is the space meant to be clean and efficient, but the Stohrs also strive to operate as sustainably as possible. Growing up in Switzerland, which is landlocked, they learned to live frugally, Thomas explained. Recycling comes second nature to them, and they operate under the philosophy of being "grandchild-sustainable" - only making a positive impact (or no impact) on their grandchildren's environment. They source local ingredients as much as possible, recycle diligently, and offer discounts and free baked goods to customers bringing their own reusable bags and cups.

The Swissbäkers menu focuses on light lunch and authentic Swiss baked goods. There are lots of pretzels (and you can even get sandwiches made on pretzel rolls), cookies, and croissants. There are also soups and quiches.

To build excitement for the upcoming opening, which they hope will occur by the end of January at the latest, the Stohrs have set up a tent in the parking lot of the Allston location where guests can try samples and purchase baked goods for the holidays. The tent will be open tonight until 7 PM, tomorrow from 3 PM until 7 PM, and Monday (12/24) from 11 AM until 2 PM.

· All coverage of Swissbäkers on Eater [~EBOS~]

Swissbakers (Allston)

168 Western Ave, Allston, MA 02134 (617) 903-3113 Visit Website

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