A steady throng of customers have been through the doors today (November 9) for the opening of The Modern Boulangerie at its new Harbour Street premises in Ramsgate.
The business, started by George Bellamy-Adams in April 2017, has moved from its former West Cliff Road shop to the expansive Celandine Hall property.
George’s mum Karen, who is also involved in the business, said the site has been busy for the soft launch.
The bakery counter is open as is a deli counter which will be extended as further works take place. A hot food menu is also on offer at the grand four floor site, which offers 7,400sq ft of space.
The Modern Boulangerie is based on the street level floor with its huge kitchens below while George has leased part of the site to Ramsgate architect firm del Renzio & del Renzio.
The property, which was last used as an indoor market until its closure in 2014, now boasts a patisserie and deli and café area.
The kitchen below has separate areas for baking, patisserie, café prep and short orders. There are new, three deck ovens where 60 loaves can be produced at a time compared to 8 at the much smaller West Cliff Road site which had two smaller ovens. There is also space for dry store and goods such as croissants and sourdough to be made in a cool area away from the heat of the ovens.
The move has also provided the town with an employment boost with Boulangerie staff numbers going up from six to 20 people.
Karen said: “It has been really busy. Everyone coming in has been really keen and excited despite the fact we couldn’t offer coffee today. They brought their own and we fed them!
“It is still a work in progress, we are going to have the deli extended and a co-working space upstairs. It has been really transforming having the ovens and being able to do 18 loaves where we could only do four at West Cliff.”
Despite the vast size the café and counter areas are warmed by the sunlight roofs and the constant flow of people and the area will benefit from air conditioning in the Summer.
There are plans for students to gain training and working experience at the Boulangerie as well as collaborations with pop-up ventures and food traders.
The Harbour Street site represents a huge growth of the business in just over five years.
George, who quit as head baker at venues in London in a bid to go it alone, first set up business in 2017 in the premises of the Grumpy Goblin gaming store, originally in the High Street and then in Queen Street.
Specialising in Viennoiserie – which translates as ‘things of Vienna’ and includes croissants, Pain au Chocolat and Pain aux Raisin and also in Beignets, which are French pastries – trade began as business to business with some personal orders also catered for.
The success of that micro-business and demand for George’s kitchen creations from cafés, restaurants and shoppers meant a move to his own shop in Westcliff Road in July 2020.
Hard work, talent, imagination and a love of community have now resulted in the relocation to Harbour Street.
The street itself continues to be transformed with a number of new businesses springing up including the new Polish Bistro, Jah Jah’s restaurant with Caribbean-inspired cuisine, Book Bodega, TLC American food restaurant, Turner Rowe art centre and gallery and Alchemy by Saltworks sitting alongside established venues such as the Ramsgate Tandoori.
The street boasts a baker and a butcher shop, Days supermarket, new units at the former Bazaar site and work to refurbish the Mr Simms sweet shop on the corner.
Karen said: “It is a really good street, exactly what you need as the entrance to the town. It is all about small, independent local businesses.”
The Modern Boulangerie is open from 9am to 4pm from Tuesday to Sunday.