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Side Dishes: Bakery and café to open in Essex

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The prime real estate left empty early this year by Rustico’s won’t remain dormant long. As soon as May, the space in the Essex Shoppes & Cinema will be home to a new bakery and café.

According to Arnd Sievers, director of food and beverage at the Essex Culinary Resort & Spa, construction has already begun on the Essex Bake & Coffee Shop.

Sievers and the Essex’s executive chef, Shawn Calley, will oversee the new restaurant, which will be open for breakfast and lunch. Croissants, danishes and quiche will be among the morning offerings. At lunch, Sievers says, the shop will serve sandwiches on homemade sourdough bread, along with soups.

Espressos, lattes and cappuccinos are likely to attract a grown-up café crowd, but there’s something special for younger folks, too: a creemee machine that will extrude soft-serve ice cream year-round.

The bake shop will close in the late afternoon to prepare for evening cooking courses. Sievers says he hopes the spot will host classes on subjects such as artisan bread making and cupcakes at least three times a week, but he’ll hold them daily if the demand arises. Sievers thinks it might — daily classes at the resort regularly fill up. A small retail selection of high-end kitchen tools at the café will help students replicate their handiwork at home.

Sievers and Calley are currently interviewing pastry chefs for the new establishment. It’s a big job: The location will also serve as a retail bakery, making birthday and special-occasion pastries and even wedding cakes. Things are about to get sweeter in Essex.

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