Fresh bread from the Wiltshire Pantry

For those missing the quick soup and salad lunch options once offered by the recently closed Joe Davola’s, fear not.

Susan Hershberg, owner of the Wiltshire on Market restaurant and Wiltshire Pantry catering, is opening a new storefront at the 901 Barret Ave. location in the Original Highlands neighborhood.

Called the Wiltshire Pantry Bakery and Cafe, it will serve artisanal baked goods and coffees and grab-and-go items such as soups, sandwiches and salads.

Hershberg has run her catering operation in the back part of the building for about seven years and the space had begun to feel small, she said. When Joe Davola’s opted not to renew its lease this year, it seemed the perfect opportunity to expand and make use of the storefront, she said.

The space is getting a substantial facelift. Hershberg received a Metco small business loan from the city’s Department of Econonic Growth and Innovation to update the facade. The interior features new, large windows and open duct work that brightens and enlarges the space. Contemporary lighting and a soft white color pallet give it a soothing, airy affect.

Hershberg said seating will be limited with emphasis on carry out.

Many of the baked goods at the cafe, produced by lead baker Deanna Rushing, will be familiar to customers already shopping at the Wiltshire’s popular presence at the Highland Farmer’s Market. There they sell pastries such as croissants, pain au chocolat and sticky buns called bunzillas.

“They are absolutely delicious,” Hershberg said. “They’re just devilish.”

The breads will be artisan, made from scratch with Rushing’s own starter and grains that haven’t been genetically modified. The grain, grown in the Midwest, is ground locally by Wheat-n-Things.

“The next wave of artisan products is going to be wheat and grain because we’re learning more and more about the health benefits of non-gmo foods,” Hershberg said.

Hershberg likened grinding grain locally to grinding coffee locally, saying it improves the quality and freshness.

“When flour sits in a storehouse some of the things that are best about it become dormant like starches, enzymes and proteins,” said Rushing.

Rushing, who has been influenced by the methods of Chad Robertson’s Tartine Bakery of San Francisco, is a proponent of baking with wild yeast rather than the typically used instant variety, saying the more natural process better captures flavors and proteins.

“All that natural yeast makes an incredible difference in the bread,” Hershberg said.

Hershberg said patrons of the cafe can expect an oft-changing menu, not unlike her flagship restaurant, Wiltshire on Market, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

“People know they can get an interesting, innovative meal,” she said of her restaurant and catering brand.

Hershberg said she anticipates cafe hours being 7:00 a.m. or 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The cafe may offer box lunches to go during Derby and will likely open shortly thereafter, she said.