Nathaniel Reid's production expansion means more of the sweet treats we've come to love.
We've all experienced this tragedy. You drive out to Kirkwood with your heart set on one thing and one thing only: A subtly sweet, butter-drenched kouign-amann from Nathaniel Reid Bakery. You park your car, walk through the bakery's front doors and patiently wait in line by the pastry case, only to find that when it's your turn to order, your beloved Breton pastry is nowhere in sight.
It's a heartbreaking feeling that is about to become much less common thanks to some big changes at Nathaniel Reid. On August 30, the beloved bakery unveiled a significant expansion to its back-of-house space — a sizable increase in production facilities that will allow the bakery to bring its loyal customers more of what they've come to love over the past six years.
"Chef [Reid] was looking at expansion opportunities, and it just so happened that the owner of the company next to us was retiring," says Brianna Snay, Nathaniel Reid Bakery's general manager. "We were able to expand just next door, so we can expand our bakery items and products — and hopefully not run out of kouign-amann by 11 a.m."
As Snay explains, this is not the first time that Nathaniel Reid Bakery has had to expand to meet robust demand. In 2018, a mere two years after opening in a small Kirkwood strip mall, the bakery built out a dedicated bread kitchen downstairs from the storefront because desire for its products was much higher than it could produce in the upstairs facilities. Though there was casual talk about finding other buildings, Snay notes that Reid has always been emphatic about staying in Kirkwood. That's why the opportunity to take over the adjacent storefront was so perfect.
Though neither the 2018 nor the current expansion increased the bakery's retail space, Snay says that customers will experience palpable benefits to the increased capacity. In addition to keeping the kouign-amann stocked, she notes that the bakery team will be able to produce more varieties of favorite items, such as additional flavor options on cakes, meringues and macarons.
Another benefit of the expansion is an improved work environment for Nathaniel Reid Bakery's dedicated staff. The extra space allows the team to spread out and provides room for additional equipment as well as an increased workspace to fulfill large catering orders. An office is part of the expansion, as is an employee break room that will give the staff a place to rejuvenate, so that they can take care of themselves in order to take care of their customers.
"The community has been so gracious in coming here every day," Snay says. "We have so many people whose orders we know; we know what they want for breakfast or if their kids are having a birthday. They know us, and we know them, and it's nice that we didn't have to leave them and can expand in what feels like our home."