Friday, January 18, 2013


Ellen Gracyalny who owns Gracie's (194 Washington St, Providence  401-272-7811) recently opened Ellie's Bakery just down the street from the restaurant (61 Washington St, same telephone). Ellie's is managed by Courtney Ortiz; the chief baker is Danielle Lowe, a Johnson & Wales grad who was assistant pastry chef at Gracie's; and Melissa Denmark, current pastry chef at Gracie's (also a J &W grad and noted by Food & Wine magazine in 2012 for her creations)  contributes part-time.

Finally, I thought, after reading the gushing spread in the Providence Journal this week, a French-style bakery in Providence. *

Right now I pick and choose or make my own creations. Seven Stars ( supports the olive bread habit, the occasional sticky bun requirement and the needed baguette sandwich for train travel but Seven Stars doesn't venture much beyond breakfast pastries and cookies. Olga's ( produces similar fare and makes some individual rustic tarts and pastries. Everybody has a go-to Italian bakery and I have my favored Portugese shops (Silver Star on Ives with those Saturday jelly doughnuts comes to mind) but these satisfy a different need. If you ask "Where can I buy French pastry in Providence," someone will laud Pastiche ( on Federal Hill. I don't. So, where to find a splendid French tart or a gorgeous mousse and merinque cake?

Well, not at Ellie's, at least not yet. The shop offers a variety of breads, attractive sandwiches (maybe a little too bready) but there was only one actual breakfast pastry when I stopped in this week. Mostly, it was muffins and scones. Among the traditional cookies there are Madeleines, both olive oil chocolate and the more Proutian lemon-scented. They are good. Not a single fruit tart. The featured spicy chocolate meringue tart is lovely and made especially flavorful by the chocolate crust. As for the macarons (cookies I think I loved more when I had to cross an ocean to get them - I've hit macaron saturation at this point), the salted butter caramel is a winner and I would say so is the dark chocolate coconut if I were basing it on the meringue - the filling was so scant (see picture) I couldn't locate the taste.

I'm hopeful. Maybe the tarts and cakes will come once the business is developed.

Monday - Friday 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Saturday 9:00 a.m - 5:00 p.m.

*There is the french tarte (774-280-4803) operated by Susan VandenBerg out of Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket but it's not a walk-in bakery. Order ahead.

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