I confess. I’m not wild about cretzels. When pastry chef Rachael Coyle (The Herbfarm, Le Pichet) launched her pop-up at Book Larder in 2013, her signature extra-crunchy croissant-pretzel hybrid was the talk of the town. I found them too hard and one-note in flavor. It was Coyle’s rich, handmade desserts that captured my attention.
Happily, at her bright, airy Greenwood café, seasonal tarts, layer cakes, brownies and cookies—lined up like works of art beneath a sparkling chandelier—get the spotlight they deserve. About 250 backers contributed nearly $34,000 to help bring Coyle’s Bakeshop to life. With white-tiled walls and pretty green accents, it’s a thriving neighborhood gathering place.
And what sweets! The sinful texture of a flourless brownie with espresso and cacao nibs ($3.50) dissolved in my mouth, its strong flavor lingering like a wine’s finish. If a dessert could be sexy, this one was. A passion fruit tart’s ($5.50) just-plucked sourness was tempered with a sweet, marshmallow-like meringue. And the crumbly goodness of the chocolate sablé and butter sablé cookies (75 cents each) made my preschooler squeal with delight.
Yet among all these killer sweets, a savory treat came out on top. Coyle’s bacon-cheddar scone ($3.25), studded with scallions, had the flaky, buttery texture of a biscuit with the weight of a scone. On a second visit, I tried a moist olive oil Bundt cake ($5.50), dusted with powdered sugar and packed with fresh, tangy rhubarb, that I can’t stop talking about. With an ever-changing menu, what’s outstanding will vary, but there’s always something for your sweet and savory tooth. Wed.–Sun., 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Greenwood, 8300 Greenwood Ave. N; 206.257.4736; coylesbakeshop.com
Ding ding ding, we have a winner: Coyle's savory, bacon-cheddar scone; photo: Colin Bishop