When Roger Gural says his new Arcade Bakery represents a homecoming, he isn’t just talking about returning to Tribeca, and how his first baking job was at Bouley Bakery. He actually lived at 40 Worth back then. “My family is in real estate, and they manage the building,” he says. “I used to live on the roof, where there’s one apartment, for a super. I kept my sourdough starter in the boiler room.”
The bakery is in a beautiful hallway, with vaulted ceilings, that’s accessed via 220 Church (between Buckle My Shoe and the New York Law School bookstore); the doors had been closed for quite a while. Because the floor is sloped, there are no chairs; instead, Gural had eight tables built that swing down from the wood-paneled nooks, and you can stand or sit in the nooks.
For Gural, Arcade Bakery is a welcome return to production after years of teaching (before which, he was the head baker at California’s esteemed Bouchon Bakery and French Laundry). “At Bouley Bakery, I worked with the head baker, and I could see from his level of technique—he had at least ten years of experience—how much I had to learn before I could open a bakery.” Gural and his team are baking pastries—croissants, Danishes, sugared brioche—and bread in the morning, segueing into coffee cakes, and, for lunch, a ham-and-cheese sandwich and flatbread pizzas. (The menu is below.) Arcade Bakery is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and he hopes to extend the hours soon.
I’ve had several of the breads, as well as a chocolate croissant and a sugared brioche, and they have all been outstanding. I’ll head over for lunch and add those photos later today…. Update: The pizza was very good. Best crust south of Motorino.
Arcade Bakery is at 220 Church (between Worth and Thomas), Arcade Bakery’s Facebook page.
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