There's a lot to love about Coyle's Bakeshop; first and foremost, owner Rachael Coyle. Equally enchanting are the beautiful pastries lovingly produced in her namesake shop.
Back in winter of 2013, as my birthday gift to my oldest sister, also a cooking and baking enthusiast, we attended Rachael's always-sold-out croissant class. The class was held at the Book Larder, a cookbooks-only mecca in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle where Rachael served as culinary director and developed and taught a suite of classes. What fun! My sister and I and about 8 other students learned insider tricks of working with croissant dough, watched Rachel deftly demonstrate enrobing the butter, laminating the dough and butter, folding and rolling, and forming of the croissant pastries; all the classic techniques. Then we took a spin with our very own lumps of dough. By the end of the class, we had made classic croissants, pain au chocolat, and croissants with ham and gruyère. She sent us home with extras (no such thing!) her recipe, technique, and more laminated dough to play with at home.
(If you're in the mood, let Julia Child walk you through the croissant-making process.)
Rachael was fun, accessible, extremely knowledgeable yet down-to-earth. We talked a little about our respective, non-traditional bakery businesses, and I learned then that she was seeking a storefront for her very own stand-alone business. I began rooting for her immediately.
Once a month on Saturdays, beginning in 2013, Rachael would bake up a storm and operate a pop-up bakery from the Book Larder storefront. Word got around, a line would form, and pastries flew out the door until there were no more. Each month the same, until Rachael began looking for a location for her own brick and mortar location. Easier said than done. But after many positive write-ups, a successful Kick-Starter campaign, countless loyal patrons, and much research and work, Rachael located a corner storefront in the Greenwood neighborhood, about 10 minutes north of the Book Larder and built out a beautiful bakery.
Coyle's Bakeshop has fantastic croissants, of course, and many other croissant pastries, including the "cretzel". I love the Victoria Sponge (similar to Bon Bon's Berries & Cream cakes), the delicate tarts, and the buttery cookies. Rachael has an eclectic menu, and an affinity for somewhat uncommon british and french items. I love the obvious care that is taken with each item, the simple adornments, and the careful sourcing of quality ingredients and local produce in season.
The space is pleasant, light and airy, with plenty of seating. There's coffee, of course--it's Seattle, after all--but Rachael has specially selected teas you're unlikely to find elsewhere. Shoehorned in to the left of the pastry case and service counter is a very small kitchen, which I verified was the whole factory, the total of the vital organs running the place. Hat's off to a very efficient crew.
8300 Greenwood Avenue North, Seattle WA