Tabor Bread on Hawthorne Boulevard in Portland, OR is cute, really cute. The high ceilings with exposed beams, hardwood floors, and simple tables (made of wood reclaimed from trusses removed during remodeling) make the place welcoming but spacious. The all-important masonry bread oven is located just to the side of the seating area, so customers can see the bakers pulling hot loaves out of the wood-fired inferno. The place smells of coffee and cinnamon and sourdough with a hint of woodsmoke. Tabor Bread has only been open for just over three weeks, but it has a lot of potential for sure.
The vision for Tabor Bread came from California native Tissa Stein, but that vision has been realized with the help of skilled bakers and a pastry chef up for the challenge of whole-grain sweets. My friend from high school, Annie Moss (below in the red/stripes), has been critically involved in the development of the physical space of the bakery as well as the implementation of the bakery’s program sourcing locally grown grains and milling them in-house. Annie’s previous experiences managing a bakery in New York City as well as working with numerous bakeries on plans to incorporate a larger percentage of local ingredients into their goods sold at Greenmarket Farmers’ Markets (the country’s largest farmers’ market association) made her a perfect fit for a position as a general manager of sorts for Tabor Bread. Because the bakery is just getting up and running, Annie bounces from staffing the counter to chopping kale salad to fielding media requests to bookkeeping to making emergency yogurt runs on any given day.
Currently, Tabor Bread is well stocked with whole grain breads, fresh pastries, and hot coffee. They are also serving a light lunch of soup and sandwiches. Later this month, they will roll out an evening menu of bread-centric appetizers to accompany a selection of wines.
The huge masonry oven is at the heart of the bakery.
The vast majority of grains used in their breads and pastries including several types of wheat, spelt, rye, and kamut are purchased farm-direct from Camas Country Mill in Eugene. The whole grains are ground into flour by a beautiful wood-framed mill in a room just off the dining area.
I left the bakery with one of Tabor Bread‘s signature giant “Fife Boule” loaves. Now I’m a big fan of hearty, whole grain bread, so I would never complain about a loaf being too heavy-duty, but I was actually pleasantly surprised by how approachable the Fife Boule was when I cut it open. Though it was quite weighty, the texture of the crumb was light and airy, and even after being cut for three days (because it took us a while to get through such a big loaf) it wasn’t noticeably stale. If I lived closer to Portland, I’m pretty sure this bread would be on my table on a regular basis.
Tabor Bread is open Wednesday through Sunday. If you’re in Portland, you should definitely pay them a visit.
*This post is NOT sponsored by Tabor Bread in any way. I visited the bakery to catch up with an old friend and check out what seemed like an interesting business. I did get a bit of a behind-the-scenes tour, but I paid for my own loaf of bread.