Fans of good bread in Miami know Zak Stern makes some of the best manna in town. Available at various markets and restaurants throughout town, his wares can be difficult to find unless you are searching for a sandwich at Panther Coffee or a loaf at the Pinecrest farmers' market.
But now Stern, AKA Zak the Baker, and his baked goods will finally have a home when his Wynwood bakery and café opens in early April.
Stern tells Short Order that the space, located next to the Lab, was completely built out to incorporate his bakery and a café. But refitting a warehouse doesn't come cheap. "I was able to round up a loan, but turning a warehouse into a bakery is an incredibly expensive venture. Just the infrastructure alone took almost all of my money."
Over budget, Stern turned to Kickstarter instead of looking to investors to fund the finishing touches. The campaign, which began yesterday, has a $30,000 goal. "Really, we need a million," Stern says, "as much as we can get." The baker/entrepreneur decided to ask the community for help with his bakery instead of seeking out traditional partners because he didn't want to compromise his products. "For the past two years, what we've done is working, but how do we take the next step?"
With Kickstarter, Stern hopes members of the community will help -- and they'll receive something in return. A pledge for as little as $10 gets you a loaf of bread and a thank-you. Invest $50 and you'll receive a T-shirt or canvas bread bag, lunch, a sticker, a loaf of bread, and a thank-you. A thousand dollars gets you a night at the bakery with a private baking lesson with Zak for five guests, lunch, a shirt, a sticker, and (of course) a thank-you.
Regarding the thank-you that comes with each level of pledging, the baker says he's not trying to be overly cute but simply sincere. "The support in Miami is incredible," he says. "I'm just trying to make bread. The point of this bakery is that we're done holding back. Now we can become the bakery we should become."
The bakery will allow Stern to expand his offerings. Besides sourdough, choices will include ciabatta, pastries, and challah on Fridays. "We're going to expand our selections as much as we can. We really haven't had a chance yet."
The café, which will open around 7 a.m., will feature a "humble" breakfast menu. The primary focus will be on lunch, with a selection of sandwiches and salads -- all freshly made and kosher. "We want to provide a showcase for our bread. We'll cure our own salmon. Everything is made from scratch," Stern says.
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The café will also give the baker's fans an inside look at how the breads are made by featuring an open space that looks directly into the bakery. "It's going to be a bit of working performance art every day. In Hialeah, we were held back, but what we do is really legit, and we'd love to share that with people."
Visit kickstarter.com to pledge money toward Zak the Baker's campaign by April 16. In return, you'll get fresh bread, some goodies, and a genuine thank-you.