Fans of the longtime Bel Air Bakery, which shocked many by closing last winter, could soon be a new home, in the same spot, for baked goods.
Bel Air's Nichol and Jim Barbes are planning to open Newberry Cafe & Bakery on North Bond Street this winter.
Nichol Barbes said the Hamiltons, who owned Bel Air Bakery, passed along many of their recipes, so dessert lovers could see their favorite treats come back.
"It's an artistic outlet for me," Barbes, who spent four years making specialty cakes at the former Open Door Cafe, said about her plans to start the business.
Barbes moved to Bel Air from New Jersey in 2007, and she said she hopes to include New Jersey favorites like zeppoles – an Italian doughnut-style dessert – and pork roll egg-and-cheese sandwiches.
She said she had originally planned to just have a bakery, but "it's such a good lunch crowd in downtown Bel Air that we figured it would be good to have a sit-down [business]."
Newberry would be the second new bakery coming to downtown Bel Air. La Cakerie, based in Towson, is also planning to open soon on Main Street, in the former home of The Jaded Bean.
A third bakery, Sweet Eats, was briefly open on South Bond Street in a building previously occupied for an equally short amount of time by All About Cookies, which received a $40,000 loan from the Town of Bel Air.
Barbes said she is cognizant of being the second new bakery downtown, with the more regionally-based La Cakerie coming to town.
"My concept has evolved since I realized La Cakerie will be coming there," she said, explaining she decided to have more fresh-baked breads and kaiser rolls.
She said she also hopes to reach out for wholesale business, such as selling to local restaurants.
Barbes said she has gotten plenty of curiosity about her business plans.
"People ask me all the time 'Why?" And, really, why is because my husband and I are involved in so many things in the community," Barbes, who has three children, said.
She added she and her husband hope to offer local fundraisers, and they will have some photos of Bel Air Bakery and the Hamiltons in the new space to give the feel of a "retro bakery."
"We really wanted to have a place that can foster the community," she said.
Trish Heidenreich, the town's economic development director, and Christine McPherson, executive director of the Bel Air Downtown Alliance, both said they are eager to see the new shop.
McPherson noted the town and Downtown Alliance released a market study in March showing, among other results, that Bel Air can support 12 more food establishments.
"I had a nice conversation with the owner on the phone and she seemed very enthusiastic about opening her business in downtown Bel Air," McPherson said. "I love the idea of having another bakery/cafe in downtown Bel Air and I am very excited to see the energy on Main Street making its way to Bond Street. Bond Street doesn't always get the attention that it deserves, there are a lot of great new things going on such as Civic Cyclery, Independent Brewery, and now Newberry Cafe."
Heidenreich said "it's nice to know a bakery will continue in that spot" and called it a "win-win for everyone."
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"The more restaurants, bakeries and coffee shops we have, the more Bel Air will become a destination for pedestrian activities," she said. "The more pedestrians we have, the more the demand for these services increases."