Published November 10th, 2016 at 9:54 AM
The unmistakeable scent of fresh-baked cinnamon rolls and croissants fills Brioche, a brightly lit bakery and coffee shop, that opened two weeks ago at 2000 Main Street in the Crossroads.
Owners Ida Kelley and pastry chef Brandon Kelley relocated to Kansas City from Jefferson City, bringing their baking business with them. In 2009, the couple opened B.K. Bakery in Missouri’s state capital. They moved to be near Ida’s family and for their business to reach a different market.
B.K. Bakery found an audience but its offerings began to diversify to meet local demand. The range of products expanded beyond the intent of the owners.
“In Jefferson City, we made pastries, cakes, pies, wedding cakes, and doughnuts,” said Ida. “We were running ourselves ragged trying to keep up.”
The price-quality ratio that customers desired was not aligned with Brandon’s higher-end, made-from-scratch pastries.
“People didn’t understand why breakfast pastries were more expensive,” said Brandon. “As we went along, we found that people really wanted doughnuts. We only had a small following that appreciated the pastries. Here, there’s a bigger target market for pastry.”
“The change from B.K. Bakery to Brioche enabled us to better define what we’re doing and to appeal to a broader market,” said Ida.
Both bakeries combined Brandon’s pastry expertise with Ida’s passion for coffee.
“At other places, we found the coffee wasn’t great but the baked goods were, or the coffee was better but not the baked goods,” said Brandon. “We tried to put both in one spot.”
Shortwave Coffee, a small-batch roaster operated by Dale Bassham in Columbia, Missouri, is served at Brioche. When based in Jefferson City, the Kelleys sold wholesale pastries to Shortwave.
“We’ve grown together,” added Ida. “We wanted to give him the opportunity to come to the Kansas City market.”
Brioche takes it cue from Brandon, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, who delights in the details. The shop is redolent with the smell of pecan-laden sticky buns, pain au chocolat, scones, danishes, and other treats. The golden light crust of a ham-and-cheese croissant gently crackles and flakes into pieces.
“He’s very detail-oriented. You have to pay attention to time and temperature in baking,” said Ida. “Everything matters. He likes that control over the baking process.”
“Baked goods are everywhere. What if people dug deeper and cared about the ingredients and taste?” asked Brandon. “I strive to make a better product with real butter and ingredients. For older customers, the pastries take them back to when bakeries made them from scratch. It brings memories back.”
Ida and Brandon purposely chose Brioche as the shop’s name. “Brioche is a sweet enriched dough with fat and eggs,” said Brandon. “You can change the texture and taste. It has versatility.”
The couple hopes that regular customers will take interest in Brioche, both the dough and the shop, and how each will develop over time.
“I’ve been on a journey as a chef that led to my own business,” said Brandon. “The ultimate goal is to have people go on that journey with me. If they stay with me, they’ll see it is not always the same. We don’t just have one menu. There’s so much for people to taste.”
Creating seasonal fruit-based pastries, or one made with a rare chocolate, based on the chef’s inspiration is part of that journey.
“We want you to have an experience, see the open kitchen, learn, pique your interest about baking, and carry the craft forward,” said Ida.
“I want to inspire others with pastry,” said Brandon, “as I was inspired.”