These were the only two words in a middle-of-the-night email Jen Bush, now co-owner of Lucky’s Bakehouse, sent to Lucky’s Market owner Bo Sharon.
The two had been talking about the possibility of opening a bakery together, but Jen just wasn’t ready.
She was coming off of an arduous personal experience – and though her love of baking is as natural to her as breathing – was daunted by the prospect at first.
Bo happened to be up at the same ungodly hour and immediately responded saying he’d just signed the lease on the proposed space that very afternoon.
A former video rental shop, sitting a literal stone’s throw away from Lucky’s Market in north Boulder, he knew he wanted the space no matter what.
The Bakehouse has the feel of an East Coast bakery, which is the highest compliment I can give it.
As you enter, to your right is a long marble countertop filled with the largest variety of pastries – both sweet and savory – I’ve ever seen in one independent bakery in Colorado.
Straight ahead, a refrigerated case trumpets cream puffs, entire cakes and cake slices, that make you want to throw a party just to have a reason to bring a whole cake home.
They also do custom cakes – regular, gluten-free and vegan [gluten-free as well].
To the left of the counter, which is to the left of the refrigerated case [to the left, to the left], are their housemade ice creams.
With a rotating array of flavors, like Justin’s Peanut Butter Cup [a local legend company] and Madagascar Vanilla, you can get your fix here.
From the expected cupcakes, brownies [salted caramel, no less] and chocolate chip cookies, to the unexpected S’mores cake [by the slice and whole], savory galettes and white chocolate enrobed marshmallow [whose flavors change regularly; on the day I visited, it was blackberry] – it’s an overwhelming experience of choice, in the most delightful way.
Not that any of the expected items are staid.
For example, the chocolate chip cookies are made with generous chunks of Callebaut chocolate and brown butter.
“Bakeries are a place you go to feel good”, says Jen and it’s true.
It’s hard not to when you’re being stared down by a 3″ tall cream puff.
When they opened almost a year and a half ago, less than 1/4 of their offerings were gluten-free, and now almost 1/2 are.
But, instead of relying only on gluten-free flour to make her creations, Jen likes to find other options to punch up the flavor.
Like using almond meal for her GF lemon ricotta cake – a pastry even the gluten-tolerant will enjoy.
Jen is loving this opportunity and experience, noting that being a pastry chef suits her – a job she’s held in many iterations throughout her career, from 14 years in San Francisco restaurants to executive pastry chef of the Big Red F restaurant group, owner of Blue Fine Pastries and Ice Box Bakery, to now co-owning Lucky’s Bakehouse & Creamery.
She says her staff is incredible and that makes them a team that cares deeply about each other and what they do.
Sitting out in the dining area with me – which, for a bakery, is a generous 24 seats – she proudly proclaims, “When I look at them back there, they’re all so committed to pastry”.
“It’s much different than being a savory chef”, she says.
The energy is different.
Focused, but decidedly less intense.
The hours are also much different.
“You can’t be a partier when you have to be up at 4 a.m.” says Jen.
In restaurant kitchens, most pastry chefs work in a small corner of an artificially lit space, creating throughout the day and they never get to see the guests enjoy their desserts come evening.
Staring into her open kitchen at Lucky’s, she says, “There’s huge satisfaction with an open pastry kitchen, the sunlight streaming in, and getting to see people enjoy your work.”
It’s clear that Jen herself feels Lucky.
3990 Broadway Street