After offering her artisanal baked goods at farmers markets and coffee shops in the area, Julia Castellano is now ready to tackle her own brick and mortar.
She plans to open her new location at 3410 Wrightsville Ave. by late summer or early fall. At over 1,200 square feet, Little Loaf Bakery & Schoolhouse carries a selection of Old World-style, handcrafted breads and pastries ranging from challah rolls to whole wheat and sourdough loafs.
Cookies, biscuits and cakes round out a pastry section, including gluten-free and vegan options. Most of the breads on the menu will stay the same.
“I know my customers expect their weekly breads,” Castellano said. But, as the seasons change, she plans to offer more creative options.
Baking is not new to Castellano. She was exposed to European food and culture from a young age and, while traveling overseas, found herself baking in her free time. Once she started a cookie business while teaching English abroad, there was no turning back.
She honed her baking skills further working at local Wilmington restaurants, always knowing she would strike out on her own. After searching with her family, she found the “stand-alone spot” she had been looking for – a 1930s house that was formerly a yarn store. Another requirement was character, something similar to the charm she experienced in European bakeries.
With character came a crooked building.
“There was nothing square or level about it,” Castellano said. “Renovations were a challenge; everything needed to be custom-built. A French door had to be added in the back to make space for an oven.”
As a former teacher, Castellano couldn’t have a “schoolhouse” without some slate of classes.
She wants to offer monthly advanced pastry and breadmaking classes and let others use her space for classes such as candlemaking and soapmaking. A future garden is in the works as part of her lesson plan. “I love the idea,” she said, “of utilizing the whole property.”
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