Grand Central's Newest Portland Bakery is Open!
Pssst! Our seventh Portland café is fully baked and ready for business! Grand Central Bakery opened in Beaumont Village Monday, July 23rd, taking over the ground floor of the stained wood building called Ode to Roses, the long ago home of Fife restaurant. The 50-seat bakery at 4440 N.E. Fremont Street will feel familiar, with warm colors and elemental materials - wood, steel, a bit of stone - but be its own unique place ("We are not a cookie cutter bakery," co-owner Piper Davis likes to say).
All shiny and new: Putting the final touches on our newest Grand Central Bakery, in Portland's Beaumont Village.
Among the distinctive features: FSC-certified butcher block counters, a native Oregon madrone wood floor, a wrought iron bread rack (top, middle) crafted by Portland metal sculptor Jim Meakin, and photographs from nationally renown photographer and Portland resident Charles Gullung. Just outside the bakery doors you'll find generous patio seating, three bike racks, parking, beautifully lighted signs and - because it's Portland - a place to post poetry. Most important, you'll find our incomparable breads and pastries, plus the sandwiches and soups that you have come to know and love. Come see us soon!
Jammers and Hammers: Beaumont Bakery Crafted by Locals
We buy flour and butter, peaches and parsley and more from local producers. So when we started swinging hammers over in northeast Portland for our 7th neighborhood bakery, it seemed only logical to keep things local as well. Thanks to David Rubovits (top right) of Portland's DHR Renovation, who led the construction team and shares our local-only ethos, the imprint of local craftsmen and -women is everywhere, from the range hood made by local metal fabricators to all the systems and surfaces fashioned by independent plumbers, electricians, painters and cabinet makers.
That eye-catching wrought-iron bread rack? It's made by Portland metal sculptor Jim Meakin. Those gleaming rosy-hued madrone wood floors? From southern Oregon wood, manufactured at ClassicAire Vents in Wilsonville. Co-owner Ben Davis hit upon using super-durable, warm-looking madrone - long considered a scrap wood because of its twisted, wavy grain - after learning it could be cut into thick veneer and attached to a plywood base. Rubovits found a local company willing to order the sustainable wood and make the flooring, and the deal was done. (Oregon madrone flooring is part of a current remodel of Carnegie Hall. Just sayin'.)
In our new café, you'll also see locally made FSC-certified butcher block counters and fir wainscot, and outside, a small garden designed by Anne Greenwood, featuring fragrant jasmine and clematis vines cascading over the patio wall. A big thanks go out to each and every one of the hard-working Portland folks who helped with the new bakery, including Emerick Architects, Endurawood (butcher block counters), Custom Metal Fab in St. Helens, Indigo Construction (drywall), Oregon Select Wood Floors, Sam Harding Inc. (electrical contractor) and Scott at Columbia Plumbing.
Meet the Boss: Jenna Rice
Trademark look: Flower in hair. Crazy socks. Broad smile.
Hometown: Sonora, Calif.
The road to Grand Central: Rice moved to Portland in 1994 to attend Lewis & Clark College. Aside from a year spent working on a biodynamic farm near Mt. Shasta, she's been happily employed in the restaurant world, most recently managing Grand Central Bakery's Multnomah Village café.
Best thing about her new gig: "I have a whole host of regulars (from her days managing Petite Provence on Alberta Street) who I cannot wait to see again - so many of them live in that neighborhood. I'm very excited to get back to my people!"
Second best: "I'm just obsessed with the (madrone wood) floor. I want to roll around on the floor. It's beautiful."
Why Grand Central? "I love the quality. I love that I get to meet the farmers. I love the fact that they are committed to personal growth and professional development. I love Saturdays because they're slammed and they are so much fun."
Favorite GCB treat: "Cocoa nib shortbread. I seriously gained 5 pounds the week they came out. They were insane for my brain. I couldn't stop."
Little known fact: She sings, writes songs and hand-draws graffiti-inspired art.
Secret obsession: Building Lego mini-figures. "It started at home (with her two children). I kept finding ones that were perfect for my employees, then it just became fun. We started putting them everywhere at the bakery - we role play with them (laughs)!"
About those socks: "It's always been my trademark. We had to wear all black (at Petite Provence) so it was my way to express myself. I have argyles, peacocks, butterflies, stripes, cool patterns and colors - and specific colors for specific days."
Chin up: She hand-writes motivational quotes and posts them in working areas of the bakery - and keeps a motivational-quote lending library!
Why retail food? Every interaction has the potential to create something positive - she calls it "social art." "More often than not, people leave me with a different mood, or a smile on their face, or they thank me for looking them in the eye."