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He's Got the Goods

Brian Noyes with his old red truck at his new bakery in Warrenton. (Red Truck Bakery)

It's the day that Brian Noyes has been waiting for. At Saturday's grand opening of Red Truck Bakery in Warrenton, he will be a full-time baker at last.

Noyes, a former journalist who spent several years as an art director at The Washington Post, has long been a baking fanatic. Noyes grew up in California and had an uncle who lived in Tampa. They engaged in cross-country bake-offs, mailing cookies and breads to each other with accompanying recipes. His uncle would return Noyes's recipes marked up with red ink. The young man continued to pursue his hobby into adulthood.

"On my vacations, I didn't go to national parks. I went to the CIA [Culinary Institute of America] and took baking courses," he said.

It wasn't until 2005, though, that Noyes tried his hand at professional baking, at age 52.

On weekends, he would bake breads, quiches and specialty pastries, such as Christmas stollen, in his farmhouse kitchen in Orlean, Va., and sell them online and at small gourmet shops around Rappahannock County. They were an instant hit. Soon, Noyes began searching for a larger kitchen and a retail space of his own.

Finding the perfect location took time; fixing it up took even more. In 2008, he signed a lease on a converted, circa-1921 gas station with plans to open by October 2008. It took an additional eight months to source the right equipment and convert the garage's two service bays into a professional kitchen and a dining area with a long communal table.

In the new space, Noyes has been able to expand his line of artisan organic breads and make baguettes and croissants. He also plans to ramp up production of seasonal pies: Look for peach and blackberry this weekend, in addition to his signature unfussy desserts, such as coffee cake and fruit galettes. The full-service bakery will serve coffee from cult roaster Counter Culture and a small selection of sandwiches, salads, local cheeses and chutneys.

"It's a heck of a time to start a new business," Noyes said. "But I think the demand is there."

Red Truck Bakery opens Saturday. 22 Waterloo St., Warrenton, 540-347-2224. Tentative hours: Mondays through Saturdays, 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Online ordering begins Monday.

-- Jane Black

By Jane Black  |  July 31, 2009; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Shopping  | Tags: Jane Black, Red Truck Bakery  
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