DTX Good Eats 2012
In crust we trust

Village Baking Co. opens retail shop, selling crisp, crackling croissants fresh from the oven

Village Baking Co. opens retail shop, selling crisp, crackling croissants fresh from the oven

Village Baking Co.
Loaves with decorative flour at Village Baking Co. Photo by Marc Lee
Village Baking Co.
Village Baking Co. in Dallas has a small retail shop open Thursday through Saturday. Courtesy of VBC
Village Baking Co.
Village Baking Co.'s bread selection includes such loaves as nine grain, sourdough and seeded rye. Photo courtesy of Village Baking Co.
Village Baking Co.
Village Baking Co.'s goods include "laminated brioches" dusted with cinnamon sugar. Photo by Marc Lee
Village Baking Co.
Village Baking Co. signage is hard to see if you're coming from Central Expressway. Photo by Marc Lee
Village Baking Co.
Village Baking Co. staffer packs up goods to go. Photo by Marc Lee
Village Baking Co.
Village Baking Co.
Village Baking Co.
Village Baking Co.
Village Baking Co.
Village Baking Co.

Village Baking Co. finally opened a retail shop in Dallas, selling breads, croissants, scones and pastries in a small room off its production facility on University Boulevard, half a block east of Central Expressway.

The big surprise about Village Baking's "new" location: It's the old Whole Foods bakery.

"We took over the space last year, and we're now supplying Whole Foods with baked goods," said a staffer at the store on Saturday. That explains the slight improvement in the quality of the chocolate croissants at Whole Foods: They are secretly being made by Village Baking. Did not know this.

It's been a complicated journey for owners Kim and Clint Cooper, who opened their first storefront in 2004 at Colleyville's Town Center, where they sold breads, croissants and espresso drinks. Colleyville turned out to be unfit for such a foodie venture, and the couple shut down the shop to focus on wholesale baking and selling their breads on weekends at local farmers markets.

 The baked goods run on the heavy side, as opposed to delicate, which is not a bad thing. The baguette has a thick, crunchy crust and a substance to its crumb.

This arrangement was better than nothing, but it meant that customers had to track down which markets they were at, and on which days.

Last year, Village Baking Co. signed on to provide breads and baked goods for Bolsa Mercado, a halfway step to having their own space. And now they've completed the journey, opening for three days a week on University Boulevard — not so far from the production facility of Empire Baking Company — making this area kind of a Bread Basket, a Croissant Court, a Dough Row, if you will.

The Village retail space is a small room off the parking lot of the production facility. When there are multiple customers, navigation can be tight, but it's more quirky than annoying. Pastries are piled on a table, and packaged loaves are stacked on a shelf against the wall. Everything comes straight from the bakery oven, which adds a level of freshness that's uncommon. You can help yourself to free coffee.

The baked goods run on the heavy side, as opposed to delicate, which is not a bad thing. The plain croissant has a crisp, crackling, slightly caramelized shell enclosing a hefty, buttery center. The baguette has a thick, crunchy crust and a substance to its crumb.

The chocolate croissant is broad, with two parallel rods of chocolate down the center, not just one — so no scrimping. Village Baking also does a "laminated" brioche, with puff pastry twirled into a spiraling roll and a heavy coat of cinnamon-sugar. We paid $18 for two baguettes, two plain croissants, two chocolate croissants and two laminated brioches and felt like we got a lot for our money.