When owners of Bellacrosta Bakery and Fine Foods opened the doors of their new Spokane Valley baking facility for a recent open house, they expected no more than 150 people to show up. Instead, about 500 folks came hungry to sample the bakery's artisanal loaves.
"Virtually every day since we had the grand opening we have had people showing up wanting to buy bread," says co-owner Scott McCandless, who owns Bellacrosta with his wife, Liz, and business partners Paul and Marta Harrington.
The couples also operate Clover restaurant in the Logan neighborhood, where Bellacrosta — the name translates from Italian as "beautiful crust" — got its start baking bread for the restaurant. The bakery started out in a 300-square-foot outbuilding behind the restaurant.
Yet the popularity of its slow-process, hearth-style breads has been growing fast over the past few years, prompting the need to upgrade to the new, 3,000-square-foot space in an industrial area of the Valley, off Dishman-Mica Road. There, a state-of-the-art Bongard deck oven from France allows Bellacrosta's baking team to efficiently produce enough loaves to fulfill the restaurant's needs and retail demand, along with a few restaurant accounts.
Bellacrosta's bread is made with natural yeast leavens and no preservatives added. Bakers use pure butter and local flour from Shepherd's Grain. While the bakery's repertoire of rustic round loaves ($6-$8) includes combos like potato rosemary, golden fennel and raisin and garlic parmesan, Bellacrosta also produces muffins ($12/6), cupcakes ($15/6), table rolls ($4-$9/6), specialty pastries, bagels, cookies and sandwich bread loaves.
McCandless and Harrington emphasize that while the baking facility has welcomed visitors stopping by, that location isn't set up for retail sales. For now, customers can purchase bread at Clover and find it at Rocket Market. Bellacrosta is also selling weekly at the South Perry, Millwood and Liberty Lake farmers markets.
This summer, Bellacrosta is set to expand even more with its first retail location and cafe in Liberty Lake. There, customers can buy bread, pastries and other goods made in the commercial kitchen at the bakery, including salad dressings, peppercorn mixes and bone broths. That location is expected to open in late summer. ♦
Bellacrosta Bakery & Fine Foods • 489-0836 • bellacrosta.com