Steve and Catherine Scott have run Babettes Artisan Breads inside the Source at 3350 Brighton Boulevard since September 2013, turning out crusty baguettes, boules and batards as well as buttery croissants and other French pastries from a tiny space barely big enough for the bread oven. Babettes has attracted the attention of national food writers and has earned a reputation from bread aficionados from across the Front Range who drive miles to stock up on their favorites. But come November 21, the Scotts will pack up the last of their baking equipment and close the RiNo spot.
The cost of doing business in Denver has become too high, Steve notes, and it has been nearly impossible to build a base of regular customers because of the constant construction on Brighton Boulevard and throughout one of Denver's fastest-growing neighborhoods.
But Denver's loss is Longmont's gain; the Scotts call the Boulder County town home, and they're moving their base of operations to cut out the commute and serve something new to their neighbors. Babettes will reopen at 2030 Ionosphere Street in Longmont's Prospect New Town development, but with a more ambitious business plan.
With nearly 3,000 square feet to work with (more than three times the size of the original bakery), the Scotts will add a wood-burning pizza oven and cocktail bar to the space, and the bakery will have its own entrance. Steve says he considered not even reopening the bread side of the business, but he found the right baker to help him out so he could focus on the pizzeria — and he heard too many people say they needed great bread in Longmont.
Catherine is an architect by training, so she designed the layout of the new Babettes, which the Scotts hope to have open by mid-January. There's an open kitchen with a chef's counter at the back of the dining room, with a bar to one side and seating for several dozen guests. Next door, the small bakery will have a few window seats and an order counter, where customers will be able to grab coffee, bread and pastries. Upstairs, a 1,700-square-foot rooftop deck will provide excellent views for enjoying Longmont summer nights. She says the interior design calls to mind a train-station bar, with gleaming tile, low lights and furnishings built by Denver's Housefish.
Steve specializes in rustic European bread styles that call for long fermentation times, high hydration (where the amount of water by weight is nearly equal to the amount of flour) and gentle handling. He'll apply the same methodology for his pizza dough, and will stick with the same King Arthur flour he uses in his bread, a decision made after many experiments with Italian and domestic flours.
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The pizzas and other menu items will be simple and straightforward, but made with the same attention to detail, natural leavening and quality ingredients that Babettes customers have come to expect. "Our goal is good value, great flavor and awesome ingredients — and a humble attitude about it," the baker explains. "It begins with quality and ends with great service."
Steve and Catherine agree that welcoming Longmont families and making sure their needs are met will be a big part of their success outside of Denver. "I want to be able to say yes 100 percent of the time," Steve says.
The plan for the new Babettes is to open the bakery at 7 a.m. every day but Monday, with dinner at the pizzeria running from 4 to 9 p.m. Once established, the Scotts will look at adding lunch and later hours on Fridays and Saturdays. A full bar specializing in Negroni cocktails — there will be six, plus other Italian-style mixed drinks — and Italian, French and American natural wines should help visitors hang out beyond dinnertime. Draft Peroni and a few craft beers will round out the beverage list.
While mid-January is the goal for the reopening of Babettes, the Scotts suggest keeping up to date on the move by following the bakery and pizzeria on Instagram at @Babettes_pizza-pane and @Babettesartisan, or on the Babettes Artisan Bread website.