Bread Alert

Bona Fide Bakery set to open in 'hallowed space' on Kercheval in Grosse Pointe Park


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Mulier's Market was the kind of old-fashioned grocery store that still had wooden counters and floors. Customers consulted with the man behind the meat counter as he wrapped up just a single lamb chop (if that's all they needed) or cut up a chicken to their personal specifications. Established in 1937, it was run by the descendants of founder Omer Mulier for 75 years before closing in 2012. The market was considered almost hallowed ground by those who shopped there.

Now the space on Kercheval Avenue in Grosse Pointe Park is getting new life as the Bona Fide Bakery — and it's good news for the neighborhood that the successor is a locally owned business rather than a soulless chain.

As proprietor Mindy Lopus watches her huge Pavailler gas-fired oven being delivered in dozens of pieces — jigsaw-puzzle style — she marvels that when it's fully assembled and installed, it will produce hundreds of loaves of traditional European artisan breads.

"Our thing," she says, "is bread."

While the neighbors will have to shop elsewhere for their groceries now, they'll still be able to get more than just bread when they walk through the French blue doors at 15215 Kercheval. Lopus will serve quiches, omelets, and what she calls "simple, fresh things" at breakfast and lunch. Bona Fide is also a licensed Great Lakes Coffee purveyor.

Resident Bona Fide baker Ryan Prentiss learned his craft in Macomb Community College's culinary program and refined it at Give Thanks Bakery in Rochester before joining Lopus' Silver Pig Restaurant Group a couple of years ago. The group includes Tallulah Wine Bar & Bistro in Birmingham and Red Crown in Grosse Pointe Park, which is just down the street from the bakery.

Bona Fide will supply the crusty loaves for Tallulah and Red Crown, as well as for retail customers who come in for a cup of coffee — drip, pour over, French press, and espresso — or a full breakfast and lunch with a focus on farm-to-table, French bistro-style foods.

Lopus says she plans to launch the bakery's wholesale business at the Michigan Restaurant Association trade show in October, adding croissants, rolls, muffins, and other baked goods to the artisan breads. She'll also consolidate her catering business at Bona Fide.

Meanwhile, master baker Lionel Vatinet, of La Farm Bakery in Cary, N.C., has signed on as a consultant to Bona Fide. Vatinet, founding instructor of the San Francisco Baking Institute, is the author of the upcoming book A Passion for Bread: Lessons From a Master Baker (Little, Brown & Co.). The French-born baker has also been recognized by Food & Wine magazine as a "Star Chef."

Plans to add a second Tallulah adjacent to the bakery have been tabled until next year, Lopus says. After opening Red Crown in March and now the bakery (scheduled for a late August opening), her plate is a bit full.

Bona Fide Bakery, 15215 Kercheval, Grosse Pointe Park, 313-822-3000.

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