One of Australia’s most beloved and legendary bakeries is making its way to NYC. Bourke Street Bakery — a chain out of Sydney that started out as a rustic, tiny corner bakery — has signs up in Nomad at 15 East 28th St., between Fifth and Madison avenues, with plans to open in the fall.
Since chefs Paul Allam and David McGuinness opened Bourke Street in 2004, it has grown into an icon in Australia and remains one of the most popular destinations for baked goods like pastries and sourdough bread and Aussie treats like sausage rolls. Over time, sandwiches, salads, and soups have also been added. There are now a dozen outposts scattered around Sydney, still owned by the founders, and it’s considered an institution.
This will be the first location outside of Australia, and Allam and his wife Jessica Grynberg moved to New York a year ago to run it. The counter-service NYC bakery and cafe will have 50 seats that look into the baking operation, where everything will be made on site, Grynberg says.
A timetable will show when certain breads are coming out of the oven throughout the day, and tons of pies, muffins, brioches, brownies, cakes, and other pastries will be available, including the famed ginger creme brulee tart. Savory fare like sandwiches and salads will be served, as will sausage rolls like the lamb and harissa or pork and fennel. And like locations in Australia, it will be open all day — from early morning coffee to wine and dessert in the evening.
But this is not just another copy of what’s become a well-run machine around Sydney. Allam, who was a savory chef before he got into bread, will be cooking and baking on site and switching up the menu regularly. As the business has grown in Australia, it’s harder to change the options on a consistent basis, he says, and since it’s just one location here, he can “go back to my roots” of seasonal cooking. An ingredient might end up in a tart one day but not be available the next, and local produce will be used. Allam also plans to mill his own flour, with eventual goals to experiment with fermentation.
“If there is something that comes in from the farm, we’ll use that. We’ll have an ever-changing menu,” Allam says. “It’s something I’ve missed from doing bigger business back home.”
Some of the menu has been adjusted for American tastes. A peanut butter and jam croissant, a pumpkin tart, pecan pie, and some sponge cakes will be new here. Meat pies, though popular in Australia, have been nixed for New Yorkers and will likely only be served on special occasions like the holidays. (“Pie in America is something that is sweet,” Grynberg says, and they don’t think Americans will be into the savory pies. She might have a point; Australian chain Pie Face suddenly closed all its local locations almost four years ago.)
Still, the ethos of Bourke Street here is the same as in Australia. They want it to be “a community bakery,” Allam says, where people of all generations and socioeconomic backgrounds can get bread, pastry, and coffee. Price points will be similar to those in Australia, with everything, including the loafs of bread, landing under $10.
As to why the first international outpost is in New York, Allam and Grynberg just happen to really love the city. The U.S. is also uniquely welcoming to Australians, with an easier work visa process. It’s partly why Australian-style cafes — where high-end coffee and on-point cafe fare are both served — have proliferated so quickly around town. Plus, the couple considers New York a place that will appreciate “really good quality food,” Grynberg says. “There’s room for everyone in New York.”
Bourke Street Bakery is expected to open before November. Stay tuned.