Sunday, March 20, 2011

Another bakery soon to arrive

Almost simultaneously with the arrival of a new patisserie in the general vicinity (Madison Valley), comes word that Madison Park itself is about to land another bakery alternative. Signs went up this weekend on the old Island Video space (3109 E. Madison St.) announcing the appearance, at some unnamed future date, of Belle Epicurean, which bills itself as "Seattle's premier patisserie." Belle Epicurean's main location is in the Fairmont Olympic Hotel downtown, where it has occupied a choice Fourth Avenue storefront for the past six years.  Owner Carolyn Ferguson, who studied cuisine and pastry at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, was profiled in a Seattle Weekly blog posting a year ago, and much earlier by Madison Park Conservatory's Maggie Savarino, back in the days when Maggie was a food writer for the Weekly.  But food writers are not the only ones to give BE high marks: the 95 reviewers of Yelp give the patisserie an average rating of four stars.

Belle Epicurean was famously (though not very) used in a scene for the ABC-TV show "The Bachelor" a couple of years ago, in which local (Kirkland) bachelor Jason Mesnick talked seriously to one of the show's contestants while they sipped hot chocolate. Or perhaps they were eating some of the patisserie's "signature" brioches during that pivotal scene (or is brioche also plural?).  Anyway, the place looked romantic, which may be tough to duplicate here in the new spot on Madison Street.  It seems that more than a bit of construction will be needed before the place is ready to turn out the croissants and spread the ambiance.

We've asked for the full story, and we'll keep you posted.

[Photo from the Belle Epicurean site.] 


  1. I too learned this, as I asked the workmen taking down the Island Video sign, what was going in. We were hoping for a pub or a new restaurant. Honestly, I was and am disappointed. I wish new businesses coming into our neighborhood would have more respect for current businesses and bring something new to the table and not competition. We don't need another bakery. Northwest Catering is right there, we have Mad Park Bakery, Arosa, the new Patisserie(It has potential, as it is good, but the service could be a little more friendly and the prices are ridiculous), the little place that used to be the Mom's Coffee Shop and then Essential. Many felt the same way when McGilvra's came in, basically next door to the Attic with a very similar menu. Can't people be creative anymore?

  2. Why don't you (many) readers who like to complain about what kind of businesses come and don't come to the area open a business instead of sitting on the sidelines complaining? Put your money where your mouths are.

    It is easy to sit and judge how other people spend and don't spend THEIR money, but are you willing to invest and take the risk that comes with starting the kind of businesses YOU think someone else ought to open? I guess not, or there wouldn't be so much complaining.

    It takes serious guts to open a small business, especially during these economic times. People who do so should be applauded and supported, not looked down upon because they have chosen to spend THEIR money THEIR way and not yours.

  3. I think the point is that we'd all be more likely to support a business that offered something we don't already have, than something we already have LOADS of.

    We absolutlely applaud people with the guts to open a new biz -- but we'd love to see one that doesn't duplicate others, which just splits our support.

  4. Once again it appears that some in Madison Park would rather see empty store fronts than a new business and not all bakeries are the same! If you don't like the new business don't patronize it or complain to the Madison Park Community Council or Business Group!

  5. I understand your point about wanting businesses that we don't already have. My point is this: Don't decry someone else's decision to open the business THEY wanted to open to express their passion.

    This is a free market society and people are free to open whatever business they want and you, as you say, are free to patronize it, or not. It really is a great system, except that you don't end up with one of everything. That is more a socialist-sort of arrangement.

    Rather than feeling badly about ANOTHER bakery, or ANOTHER bank, maybe what you are really upset about is the existence of companies like, Netflix, etc., who are the real reasons that quaint little bookstores and video stores will never exist again.

  6. This term 'free market' is such a bogus term, in fact meaningless, there really is no such thing, certainly not in the US, in this country the corporations rather than the small shopkeepers call the shots. Oh to be like England when it was a nation of shopkeepers, I'd rather give my money to an individual than a corporation or franchise any day of the week. So I like small business person giving it a try, another bakery, the Mad Park bakery is nice but really 'retro', the classic 1950's maple bar for instance over healthier alternatives.

    There are small neighborhoods (Ballard, Phinney Ridge, W Seattle, etc) that are so much more varied and dynamic compared to Madison Park. I would much prefer a system that would be able to kick the stupid owner of the place next to B of A out of Madison Park so we could have a coop artist group, Italian or JEwish deli, etc, there instead. I wish our Comm Council could get really angry and do something about that. As long as that part of Madison Park is sitting there rotting, then the Mad Park Business and Community Council are revealed for what they are: ineffective and/or indifferent.

  7. Many people are really interested in having a bookstore in Madison Park again and it is possible. Elliot Bay Book Co tried to settle here in Pioneer Hall but couldn't make a deal. There was another person trying for months to open a book store where Sun Precautions was located but again could not make a deal with the landlord after months of trying. Amazon and large chains are serious competition but we could fight back given the option.


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