Alison Ladman opened The Crust and Crumb Baking Co. on Main Street in Concord seven years ago with a vision – she wanted to fill a storefront with delicate pastries made from scratch with local ingredients.
“Starting from sugar and butter and flour and making things completely the way it’s supposed to be done, all the while supporting the community that supports us,” Ladman said. “That’s what I wanted.”
Few restaurants still do that, which is one of the things that makes the little shop she opened in 2012 so special, Ladman said.
Customers agree something unique is cooking inside Crust and Crumb. Ladman has found such success selling her homemade breads, flourless chocolate torte, raspberry crumb bars and whoopie pies that she’s expanding her business into the storefront next door, where Wellington’s Marketplace used to be. The expansion will almost double the size of the bakery.
“We’re going to have the capacity to do a lot more,” she said Thursday, smiling and pointing to the plastic sheet where the wall of her store used to be. “It’s an exciting time.”
It will mean more seating for customers, and a much bigger kitchen. That will allow Ladman to take on more catering jobs and add espresso drinks, grab-and-go sandwiches and more savory food items to the menu.
She’ll also be able to expand her work selling her baked goods to other local establishments. Right now, she bakes for Concord Hospital’s gift shop, Canterbury Shaker Village and the Grappone Conference Center.
Ladman has had her eye on expanding for a while – she was just waiting for the right time.
“We’ve been talking about it for a few years now, daydreaming, if you will,” she said. “When Wellington’s closed this last time I called our landlord almost immediately and said, ‘I think this is the time.’”
Ladman said people are always looking for more options for food downtown, particularly those who work in the area and buy lunch every day.
“We make homemade bread, and what’s better on homemade bread than a really good sandwich?” she said.
Construction started at the end of July, and it should be done within a couple of weeks. Ladman said she hopes to have everything fully operational by the busy season in September when the fall foliage tourists come.
She said a lot of work remains to be done, including hiring more employees. She has 12 on staff now, but will likely need to add several new faces to the team.
Ladman said she will continue her vision of making food locally with local materials. Crust in Crumb is “Certified Local” by the New Hampshire Farm to Food Connection, which evaluates restaurants’ commitment to purchasing, using and educating customers about locally-grown food. She said she uses Contoocook Creamery dairy products, and also buys cheese, meat and vegetables from local farms.
“Sharing good food with people is what baking is about,” she said. “That will always be the motivation behind everything we do.”