Bourke Street Bakery is something of an institution in Australia, now with eleven cafes across Sydney. It’s a moorish adult wonderland, an instant escape with its perpetual perfume of butter, coffee and fresh, crusty sourdough – it doesn’t really get better. So, you’d think after making such a dent in Sydney, the natural progression would be to do the same in the cafe capital that is Melbourne. Not for Paul Allam.
We meet Paul and Jessica at their site in Nomad, New York City. We’re literally standing chatting in the soon-to-be bakery, just barely cement and exposed beams. Paul is potentially the most relaxed person I have ever seen in this always on city, his long hair pulled back hanging loosely over his bakery tote swung casually over his shoulder.
“I have always loved New York City and wanted to live and breathe some Brooklyn air for a few years. David (my business partner) and I talked about it and we both thought Bourke Street would be unique in a town that is always looking for and embracing difference.”
Paul and Jessica walk us through the venue, pointing out the generous space for an open kitchen, the classic window bread box we all know and love, as well as where the in-house stone mill will sit and produce their very own flour.
You can already feel the warmth and cosiness Bourke Street Bakery NYC will offer, tucked neatly away beneath New York’s iconic Flat Irons. It will be the exact place to grab a fresh loaf and some butter and dart home to your friends for Sunday brunch. It will be the passing pork and fennel sausage roll, the lazy and long morning coffee with a good book and a fresh pastry. The takeaway chocolate and peanut ganache tart or two. For Australian tourists and expats, it will be a little slice of home.
Not surprisingly, Paul is drawn to New York by the endless enthusiasm and possibility the city presents.
“The way that separate worlds converge within a mile block radius, you can be a New Yorker almost instantly with the right attitude and belief,” he says.
It might seem like a tough slog to move your entire life across the other side of the world, but for Aussie’s looking to set up a business there – it’s a little easier than one might think.
“It’s significantly cheaper for Aussies to set up a business here because of the alliance between the two countries,” says Jessica.
And Paul advises, that if you’re going to do it, take the time to find the site that suits you best.
“Don’t try and fit into New York too much, trust in your product… and maybe come back and ask me after a year of Bourke Street NYC being open, I might have some more advice for you,” he laughs.
Moving from Bondi Beach to Brooklyn with their three kids is no walk in the park but Paul and Jessica are all calm and optimism, as if they’ve just hit recline on life in the world’s busiest city – it’s an inspiring brand of being.
“I never thought I would be able to do this at this stage of my life,” explains Jessica. “That we could start a whole new adventure again with our family”.
Paul is full of the same dogged spirit for their new chapter. “I love the city’s multicultural and international landscape with food to match. I like that other hospo businesses will open doors and be welcoming as if everyone feels there is room for everyone else.”
Bourke Street Bakery will be opening on 28th St off Madison in late October this year.