Every now and then a place pops up that is so different, so exciting, so….unique to Salt Lake that I can’t help but get excited about it. When I first spotted its bright blue and yellow facade, I knew that Eva Boulangerie was that kind of place.
Located at 155 S Main St, between Braza Express and the (now closed) Bayleaf Bar and Grub, Eva Boulangerie stands out from the crowd as something special. The front of the building screams Paris, which accurately reflects the European bakery ethos located within.
As you might guess by the name, Eva Boulangerie is owned and operated by the same folks behind Eva Restaurant. Charlie Perry is the chef/owner behind Eva, and he’s had a strong desire to open a cafe/bakery in SLC that helps transport people to another part of the world, through both food and atmosphere.
It took Charlie over nine months to renovate the bakery space into something reminiscent of a Parisian bakery. Immediately upon entry you’ll notice gorgeous blue, yellow and white floor tiles sporting a fun design. Like most main street stores, this one is fairly skinny and deep–I was surprised how far back the seating extended in this space.
The walls are lined with clean, bright white subway tiles and bright lights. Shelves holding a multitude of breads line the walls, with dangerously inviting sweet and savory pastries fill the glass case in front. The service staff is dressed in crisp white shirts and aprons. Head to the back of the space and you’ll find a wonderfully bright skylight which brings light into what would otherwise be a dark little section of the bakery. One of the co-owners of the space mentioned that they call the skylight their “$100,000 skylight” because it wasn’t until they started tearing down the ceiling that they even knew the skylight was there, which prompted them to change their architectural plans to bring in as much light as possible. It was worth it.
I had the opportunity to meet Lynn Perry, President of Central Milling and bakery partner. This guy knows wheat. You know your uncle or buddy who knows cars or sports like the back of his hand? That’s this guy, but with wheat. Central Milling is Utah’s oldest business, and the premier bakery supplier. I didn’t know so many types of flour existing until Lynn educated us. He takes great pride in his product, and Chef Charlie Perry understands that it takes good ingredients to make good products.
We were fortunate to have a tasting of many of their products. I’ll mention of few of my favorites here. Let’s start with the savory. The bakery offers $3 slices of pizza. The slices are very generous and the dough is crispy and flaky, with just the right amount of chew–in other words, exactly what you’d expect from a bakery. My favorite was the “Pig and Fig,” and if you’ve ever had a similar dish from Eva Restaurant, you know how delicious this is. Sweet figs and Creminelli ham top the pizza, providing a lovely sweet/savory contrast. At $3 per slice this is a wonderful little lunch on its own.
Eva’s Savory Bread Pudding was my favorite savory item that I was able to try. Bread pudding containing leeks, caramelized onions, potatoes, and spinach, all topped with deliciously rich and salty gruyere cheese. I’m sure this will be my go-to dish in the future.
The bakery offers French Onion Soup daily. I’m also looking forward to trying out their steak sandwich, featuring slow roasted tri-tip, parmesan, arugula and olive oil.
Breads. So. Many. Breads. Baker Ryan Moore uses no commercial yeast, relying instead on a twenty year old mother sourdough starter. I was very impressed with the leavening he is able to achieve without using yeast to “cheat.” Wheat bread, which can be too dense, is light and airy, a feat attributed to both the quality of the flour used as well as the baker’s expertise. Baguettes are browned, with a crispy crust and wonderfully soft, light insides–in other words, exactly how they should be. The kalamata loaf and the “One” baguette with seeds are not to be missed. The kalamata loaf takes 36 hours to produce from start to finish.
Now, on to the sweets. Pastry Chef Alisa Watson, a Portland transport, has really knocked it out of the park. Goat cheese cheesecake. Rich and creamy. Caneles, which are dubbed “portable creme brûlée” were unlike anything I’ve tasted before. Don’t let the fact that the molds they are cooked in are coated with beeswax scare you off. Croissants are light, crispy, with just the right amount of toothiness. Stuffed French Toast is filled with lemon cream and topped with blueberry compote. We tried molten chocolate, gingersnap, and hazelnut cookies, all divine.
The beleaguered Main Street has had a rough ten years or so. But, slowly and surely, life is returning to the thoroughfare which at one time exuded so much life and character. I hope that the uniqueness and character of Eva Boulangerie portends of good things to come to Salt Lake.
155 S Main St
Monday through Saturday
7am – 6pm
See more photos of Eva Bakery on Flickr
Disclosure: I was treated to a press tasting event by Eva Bakery