Like many of us, Ian Herrington spent much of his time during the pandemic baking breads and pastries. But unlike the casual home hobbyist, Herrington has been hard at work perfecting his recipes for Leavened (1633 Auburn Ave.), the artisan bakery that will open on the ground floor of The Tappan in Tremont. That 95-unit residential property at Scranton and Auburn is almost fully occupied, and come Saturday, September 26th (assuming inspections go as planned), those residents will awaken to the aromas of fresh-baked bread.
In March, Herrington left his long-standing position as head baker at On the Rise bakery in Cleveland Heights to fully commit himself to his new solo project. For three months, he worked out of the Cleveland Bagel kitchen baking breads and pastries for pop-up sales. The experience, he said, helped him tweak his recipes while garnering all-important name recognition.
“My whole goal was that I wanted to keep myself busy and get my name out there, but I found that it is really helping me get my recipes and production schedule down,” Herrington explains.
The response was overwhelmingly positive, he adds, noting that he sold out of product with each and every bake. Near the end of the run, he sent out a survey to his customers to elicit feedback, which also proved extremely helpful.
Come opening day, customers will see a glassy and sleek retail shop brimming with sweet and savory baked goods. Racks behind the counter will be loaded with naturally leavened breads like baguettes, country loaves, rustic sourdoughs, rich brioches and olive fougasses. On the counter (behind plexi, for now) will be pastries such as cookies, scones, Danishes, croissants, and sticky buns. Savory versions of those items might include ham and cheese croissants, cheddar-scallion scones and Indian-spiced potato and leek hand pies.
By far, says Herrington, the most popular pandemic pop-up item has been the focaccia, which arrive in airy-but-immense one-pound wedges. The shop likely will always carry the classic rosemary and sea salt, but other versions will be available as well.
In the morning, a full coffee bar will turn out cups of drip, espressos, lattes and cappuccinos, all made with Duck-Rabbit beans. At lunch, a small selection of grab-and-go sandwiches (both meat and vegan) will be on offer. Down the road, soups will be added to the menu as well.
To start, Leavened will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., but that back end will be pushed to 6 p.m. in the future.
Herrington is joined in the shop by GM and chef Chris Palton.