Simply Good

A new bakery-themed restaurant in Coeur d'Alene wants people to eat simply

click to enlarge Rustic's burgers are served on its housemade potato buns. - DAN COUILLARD
Dan Couillard
Rustic's burgers are served on its housemade potato buns.

The oven is so important to their operation that Rustic Bakery owners Deb and Warren Heit named it: Big Bertha, as they call her, allows Rustic to turn out both artisan bread — baguettes, boules and potato buns — as well as thin-crust pizza that honors the couple's East Coast roots.

Baguettes are the heart of sandwiches and panini, such as chicken pesto ($9.50) and brie with apple and fig spread ($8.50), or the tuna melt with Swiss ($8.50). The hearty, round boules are hollowed out to become edible bowls for soup or chili mac & cheese ($7-$8, or $6-$7 without the bread bowl). Rustic's New York-style pizza is available by the slice ($3-$3.75) or as a 20-inch pie ($19-$24).

Rustic's burger buns, explains Deb, get their moistness from mashed potatoes. Try them with a grilled meat or veggie burger ($7.50-$8.50) and a bottled beer ($5). Other appetizers include wings ($10) and a bacon-wrapped hot dog ($6). Want even more bacon? Just ask; it's a free upgrade at Rustic.

The couple, who relocated to the area six years ago, spent several years fine-tuning plans for the restaurant. Deb's meticulous experimentation with bread resulted in a three-day breadmaking technique for beautifully shaped golden loaves with thin, crunchy crusts and a moist, light interior. Warren applied his inventor and engineer's eye to refurbishing the 1905 building, formerly a retail shoe shop. Their kids, Bailey and Ryder, pitched in throughout.

click to enlarge This bread bowl stuffed with chili mac is another house specialty. - DAN COUILLARD
Dan Couillard
This bread bowl stuffed with chili mac is another house specialty.

Menu development was similarly deliberate. Salads ($8.50), for example, can be customized from a list of 26 options — protein, greens, veggies, nuts, homemade croutons — while many meals can be upgraded to include a side order and drink for less than the price of ordering separately. The emphasis is on comfort food, classics and a casual environment.

What they're aiming for, says Deb, is a place where people feel as welcome as the couple has felt since moving to the area: "We wanted to do something to give back to the community." ♦

Rustic Bakery • 309 E. Sherman Ave., Coeur d'Alene • Open Mon-Sun, 11 am-9 pm • eatrustic.com • 208-660-8052

Creating Holiday Cookie Display @ The Blissful Whisk

Thu., Nov. 21, 6 p.m.
  • or