I travel the country in search of good bread—from coast to coast and everywhere in between, I ramble. My travels are gloriously punctuated by short stops for bread & coffee, and I’m constantly in search of bakers who are involved in shaping the modern story of bread.
But my heart calls out for more than these short layovers sometimes. I want the real deal. The place you get lost and linger. And that is where Seastar comes in.
No matter where I go, I’m always happy to return home to my little neighborhood Seastar love.
Don’t get me wrong. If it were not in my vicinity, I’d be hopping millstones and trekking across wheat fields to get there. It’s the kind of sassy, soulful place I’d stare at from afar batting my lashes and longing for a croissant made with local flour.
I’m just really reeeeaaaaallllly lucky that it happens to be my hometown hero(ine).
What’s special about Seastar? Where to begin? First, of course, is the people who run it. But more than that, it’s the fact that the people who run it know that people come first. Annie and Katia are the kind of women who look you in the eyes and when you finally order and have a meaningful conversation about the state of affairs and grab your coffee and turn around, you realize they’ve just created a safe space that allowed you to be the only person in the room for a moment. There’s a line of people behind you; and an arsenal of people working; and a roomful of people eating and enjoying and you just sense—no, you know—that it’s people and the relationships between them running the show here.
The other thing that gets me all giddy about Seastar—besides the comic book lamps and corner front table with a wash of light and the monster sculptures in every corner—is the sense of community fostered in the space. They share the lease with Handsome Pizza and together these two businesses have hatched a few hefty events that most restaurants don’t think to take on: Cross tasting of pizza by different chefs around town? Yup. Storytelling event to discuss restaurant workers resistance? You got it. How about a class teaching consumers to care about local flour. Omg, I’m hooked. Can I please move in?
Annie and Katia are intrepid bakers who have pulled their grains out of the mainstream commodity market, along with the tried and true techniques that come along with said market, and they are writing fresh recipes and breathing life into a new set of skills. It might not look like a revolution from the outside—that humble biscuit or tantalizing chocolate chip cookie—but what these ladies provide is the most honorable kind of rebellion from the norm.
So…If you’re looking for me, I might just be at Seastar wolfing down a whole barley scone filled with homemade chocolate hazelnut butter. Hey, just doing my part for the revolution.