Bakery-cafe combo opens downtown

by Maria Fillas | 11/30/07 3:11am

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Gabe Mahoney '08 visits Umpleby's Bakery, which opened at 3 South Street over the weekend as
by Emily Unger / The Dartmouth

Kate Schaefer, a West Lebanon resident who lived in Hanover for 20 years, was one of many loyal fans to line up each week at the Norwich Farmer's Market in hopes of snagging just one of the Umpleby's Bakery meat pies that she describes as "incredible."

With the opening of Umpleby's Bakery and Cafe at its new Hanover location on 3 South St. this past Saturday, Schaefer and other pastry lovers will be able to enjoy the bakery's goods every day of the week.

Charles Umpleby, the establishment's owner and chef, said he decided to relocate from Bridgewater, Vt., to Hanover because many of his customers from the Norwich Farmer's Market live in this area and also because he and his young family have always been drawn to the cultural vibrancy of the town.

The shop's opening was originally scheduled for the spring of last year, but was rescheduled for early fall of this year. Umpleby's building, which is the oldest wood beam structure in Hanover, is the second to last of the South Street Block project to be completed, according to John Caulo, assistant director of real estate for the Dartmouth College Real Estate Office. The remaining complex, 68-72 South Street is set to be completed by the end of summer 2008.

All of the buildings in the block, including 3 South St., are mixed-use, meaning that they contain both residential and commercial spaces.

The construction adjacent to Umpleby's, 68-72 South St., and the last of the block to be completed, will contain 24 apartments, 4 retail spaces and an office. Three of the four retailer spaces are set to be occupied, all by independently owned retailers. In addition to a North Hampton Massachusetts outdoors store, The Mountain Goat, the building will be the new home of C. Beston and Co. home furnishing store and Kleen Drycleaners and Linen Services, both currently located on Lebanon Street. New Energy Capital, a fund dedicated to investments in renewable energy sources, will fill the building's office space.

Despite the bakery's delayed grand opening, business has been going well so far, Umpleby said.

"A lot of people have come and told us, 'You're what Hanover needs,'" he said. "If you look around, there are a lot of neat restaurants in the area. I think what we're offering is different: a casual setting with some food to accompany it. The Dirt Cowboy has great coffee, Molly's is casual, but still a sit-down kind of place. This can be like a neighborhood bakery, something that is unfortunately dying out I think."

Umpleby said that when it comes to types of pastries, his shop "does it all," serving things like croissants and sticky buns in the mornings, cheesecakes and eclairs later in the day, and celebration cakes for special occasions. Additionally, Umpleby's serves homemade soups and sandwiches. He even has aspirations of converting the bakery/cafe into a pub during evening hours.

"I always thought it'd be kind of neat with this English-style feel to offer beer and pub food for evening hours," Umpleby's said. "We're taking small steps and kind of starting with what we know and then we will slowly branch out and explore different opportunities."