Old world eatery, bakery coming to Old North
After loans to purchase a space in Italian Village (originally going to be called the Butcher's Baker) recently fell through, Kraus had to let go of his grand restaurant plans that included an on-property garden and cooking everything by wood fire, in addition to bakery wholesale and a sit-down restaurant.
Now, Kraus has announced he'll open Baba's-named for his grandmother, a huge influence on his old world cooking style-in waves at 2515 Summit St. in Old North. Ideally, Kraus hopes to open with wholesale breads around Christmas or Jan. 1, 2015, followed by a grand opening no later than March.
Kraus looked at the same space two and a half years ago, when his idea was to open a butcher shop. Back then, it was one huge 2,600-square-foot storefront. Now, divided nearly in half, Kraus says the tall, skinny and long space is perfect for the wholesale and intimate dining experience he and business partner Matt Swint of Matija Breads want to convey. "I drove by it and was kind of baffled in a good way. I saw it was just a blank, raw space and signed a lease two days later."
Kraus is waiting on finalized construction permits to begin real work on the space. He plans to have Baba's up and running before the showpiece oven-an 11-by-11-foot Spanish wood-burning bread oven-arrives from Spain. In the meantime, they'll relay on a double stack oven to turn out fresh baked breads. And there will be no shortage of smoked meats coming out of smokers Kraus is fashioning from old hotel warming cabinets.
Expect Baba's to be open regularly for breakfast sandwiches and breads from Swint and Eastern European pastries crafted by pastry chef Jackson Roecker, formerly of Pistacia Vera. That Food Truck will serve fare at lunchtime.
Bakery wholesale will be the driving force of Baba's. "That's going to allow me the opportunity to really play, really push myself with dinner service," Kraus says, adding he is going to focus on high-end charcuterie offerings and plans to make his own cheese, and also highlight local cheese makers.
Dining in will be first come, first serve for the four to five two-top tables. And don't expect a set menu. Instead, Kraus says there will be two choices: a three-course menu that gives away the elements of the dish, but not how they are prepared; and then a chef's menu, modeled after what Kraus likes to eat himself, that keeps diners in the dark. The latter is for the more adventurous.
"It's going to be old world peasant-style dishes," Kraus says. "This isn't the type of place where you get to come in and substitute this for that. That's just not how it flies."