New Orleans pastry chef Kate Heller started Leo’s bread by selling his handmade breads in the back of his station wagon. Soon she will be opening the doors of a new store for Leo’s Bread, right across from where those first pop-ups took place.
A cafe-bakery for Leo’s Bread is taking shape at 2438 Bell St., a street corner adjacent to Bayou Road. Heller hopes to open this winter.
The location is an old sheet metal shop with large garage doors where she can install ovens and new baking equipment. Up front, the cafe will have a counter stocked with bagels and croissants, semolina and sourdough breads, focaccia, sandwiches, fresh juice and coffee.
âI’ve always wanted a neighborhood bakery, especially in the neighborhood where I live,â Heller said. âThis industry is so hard work, you have to love what you do. To me, a lot of that has to do with the people you meet and interact with, and that’s what a neighborhood bakery brings.
Today, Leo’s Bread is best known as a salesperson at Crescent City Farmers Market. At Uptown Market on Tuesdays, Heller sets up baskets of baked goods and dresses her chewy, crispy bagels with chunky cream cheese schmears.
She said she would continue to do the Tuesday markets after Leo’s Bread opened across town.
The new location is in front of Pagoda cafe, which hosted the first pop-ups for Leo’s Bread. The Pagoda CafÃ© has been closed since March when the pandemic hit; Owner Shana Sassoon, who said she was excited about Leo’s Bread’s plans, is currently evaluating options for Pagoda CafÃ©’s future.
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Since its inception in 2014, Leo’s Bread has started supplying small neighborhood restaurants, including the neighbor 1000 figs. Soon, Heller partnered with 1000 Figs owners Theresa Galli and Gavin Cady to open Echo’s, an excellent wood-fired pizzeria in Mid-City. Last year, they closed and sold the business, which became a second location of Pizza Dominica.
Heller had planned this new showcase for Leo’s Bread before the pandemic. After postponing her development for the next several months, she decided it was time to move on. Leo’s Bread has reached the point where he needs his own dedicated space, she explained.
âWe will be able to expand whatever we do now,â Heller said. âMore types of croissants, different types of bagels, more sandwiches. It’s exciting. “
2438, rue Bell, opening scheduled for winter 2021
Crescent City Farmers Market, 200 Broadway, Tuesdays, 8 a.m. to noon
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