A new bakery across Wall Street from Silliman College set to open later this month will offer students and local residents an organic food option in the central campus area.
The Bread Star Bakery is still resolving a zoning issue with the city and, pending the result of a hearing scheduled for March 14, hopes to open its doors sometime in the week following the city’s decision, owner Sam Patel said. University Properties, which is leasing the store space to Bread Star, convinced Patel, who owns a similar bakery in Branford, Conn., to come to New Haven, said Shana Schneider, director of marketing for University Properties. Yale officials sought out a store like Bread Star because they thought it would fit nicely into the surrounding neighborhood, she said.
“University Properties tries to look for independent merchants, those based in Connecticut, especially in this area,” Schneider said. “We were looking to bring a little more foot traffic to complement Naples, which is already there, and Ciao Bella.”
The Bread Star Bakery, which joins a block that includes the pizzeria and the recently opened ice cream shop, will provide Yalies with freshly made food, Patel said.
“Our specialties include all-organic, all-natural bread,” he said. “We also do fresh soups with everything made from scratch. It’s not like the canned soups people make. And we sell sandwiches and wraps that are made fresh every day.”
Patel said he would probably have begun looking for locations to expand his business regardless of Yale’s entreaties but was not considering New Haven.
“We have a location in Branford right now, and Yale approached us to open up something similar to what we have,” he said. “We would have looked around, but chances are we would have looked in some other place. But it’s close by to where we are, and so we said, ‘Let’s give it a shot.'”
Yale Office of New Haven and State Affairs retail analyst Jeanne Davis ’04, who helped negotiate the bakery’s leasing of the Wall Street property, said the University has been trying to bring such a business to the Elm City since the travel agency that had previously occupied the space moved to a bigger office several years ago.
“We have been looking for a bakery and a natural-food operation to come to downtown New Haven,” she said. “We talked to a few people in the last few years, but [Patel] wanted to be there and we wanted him.”
Davis said several local establishments, including the two Gourmet Heaven grocery stores, have recently been selling food from Patel’s Branford store and reported that the products were popular among customers.
The store, which occupies approximately 800 square feet, will hire two or three employees, depending on the pace of business, Patel said.
“We’ll see how it goes,” he said. “That’ll come into play once we know exactly how much volume is going to be achieved at that location. That [number] could increase accordingly if we see an increase in business.”
Patel said the bakery will be working with Yale to inform students of its opening in addition to distributing fliers and taking out ads in local newspapers.