Boulder Mag: Babettes
This article published in the Winter 2019/Spring 2020 edition of Boulder Magazine.
Babettes specializes in house-made baked goods, pizza and small plates.
By Kate Jonuska
Photos by AliveStudios.com
For its first five years, Babettes was a tiny operation that made huge waves. Bon Appétit singled out their pastry as one of the magazine’s “Best Food We Ate This Year” in 2015, and Thrillist rated Babettes as one of the 21 best bakeries in America. Big achievements for an operation with mostly two employees: its co-owners Catherine and Steve Scott, baking and selling out of The Source Hotel and Market Hall in Denver.
Of those first years, “It was a wild time. We were busy right from the gun,” says Steve, the baker of the duo, who describes The Source as a great launching pad, but also a tight, concrete jungle. “It was just Catherine and myself, no cash register, so really what a café boulangerie would have looked like seventy or eighty years ago.”
This passion-driven culinary couple has now put down roots as Babettes Pizza & Pane in Longmont’s Prospect neighborhood, where they preside over an expanded and beautifully outfitted bakery, a spacious dining room with two sunny walls of windows and a rooftop for outdoor dining.
“I remember one of the first weeks we were here, some kids came up on their scooters at seven on a Friday morning to get a pistachio pastry for one of their moms because it was her birthday,” says Catherine, whose first career as an architect explains Babettes’ stylish, polished décor. “I loved that. It’s such an ideal neighborhood where people are out and about, and we have a lot of regulars who mean a lot to us.”
The bakery boasts several varieties of Steve’s famous bread. As a baker, he’s passionate about perfecting fermentation, pushing hydration and creating caramelized crusts thick with flavor. Babettes’ pastries and the ever-popular chocolate cakes bring in repeat customers from Denver, Boulder and beyond.
The restaurant’s centerpiece is a beautiful, butcher-block community table on which Steve once shaped bread for many years at a past job, and a gorgeous wood-fired pizza oven heats the entire area. The space is not only welcoming but symbolic.
“This table has seen hundreds of thousands of loaves of bread shaped on it, and I thought it would be a really cool addition to what we’re doing here,” says Steve, who explains the name Babettes has always conjured his perfect café environment. “We’re about fresh cooking, country cooking and cooking for all the right reasons. We try to be unpretentious. Just come in, leave the cooking to us and have a nice time.”
The Scotts are certainly having as much fun crafting the menu of their pizzeria as they did in the early years of the bakery. Fermented to perfection, the dough is paramount and is the backbone of Babettes’ roster of classic pizzas, including both red and white pies as well as a daily special.
Most exciting, though, are the small plates, which are an ever-changing selection of inspired dishes — sometimes protein-centered, but more often highlighting fresh vegetables from nearby Boulder County suppliers like Oxford Gardens, Ollin Farms and Kingdom Come Mushrooms.
“We’re definitely moving more in a vegetable-driven direction with the small plates, following our inspiration, which keeps us very excited,” says Steve, who documents these daily specials on Babettes’ Instagram account (@babettesartisan) and on their website. Recent favorites have included duck confit with puttanesca, roast artichoke with smoked burrata, and radicchio with andouille vinaigrette.
“I love that we can sit and eat dinner here, that it’s healthy and wholesome and different every day. I love seeing all the new ideas he’s coming up with,” says Catherine. “And being able to mingle with people in the restaurant — that’s been great. It’s a whole new relationship with our customers, and that’s what we love about this business.”
Tues. 7 a.m.–6 p.m.
Wed.–Sun. 7 a.m.–9 p.m.
Pizza parlor hours
Wed.–Fri. 3–9 p.m.
Sat.–Sun. 11 a.m.–9 p.m.
Wed.–Fri. 3–5 p.m.
This article published in the Winter/Spring 2019/2020 edition of Boulder Magazine.