True Blue expands to Hampstead with bakery
HAMPSTEAD — Just months after launching his third True Blue Butcher and Barrel restaurant in the South Front district, owner and chef Bobby Zimmerman is taking his brand across the Pender County line. It will launch True Blue Butcher and Baker in the former Pretzel Man spot on US Highway 17 by the end of the summer.
Zimmerman said demand from his other restaurants — in addition to Barrel, True Blue Butcher and Table and the Forum’s Mariposa — compelled him to seek out a commercial bakery. It was the former pastry chef, Julia Castellano of Little Loaf, who introduced him to The Pretzel Man.
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“Geographically speaking, if you look at the location of our other restaurants, that was the most obvious next step,” Zimmerman said.
He plans to employ up to a dozen people on site, including True Blue’s executive pastry chef, Mackenzie Clements. Clements and his team will prepare 15 different flavors of breads, six to eight candies and 10 to 15 desserts for all Zimmerman restaurants.
True Blue Baker will also operate as a retail outlet for the public. Items will include challah burger buns, sourdough focaccia, baguettes, Italian breads, sourdough breads, cinnamon rolls, seasonal muffins and chocolate chip cookies.
“We’ve spent the last few months perfecting new recipes for the bread that will be for sale,” Zimmerman said.
Clements got its start in upstate New York in a traditional Italian bakery. When she moved to the South, she worked in the Osteria Cicchetti group as a pastry assistant and was a chocolate maker. She also has experience with allergen-free and vegan offerings.
In addition to bread, there will be selected cuts of meats, wine, beer and other specialties for sale. A unique True Blue on-the-go experience is what Zimmerman aims to deliver.
“Of course it wouldn’t be True Blue without the addition of the butchers counter,” he said.
The butcher’s shop will present cuts of meat also offered to restaurants. There will also be DIY kits and butcher boxes, with unique products including OMed olive oil, Lady Edison ham and Spicewalla spices. Obscure wine and beer, curated by True Blue wine director Georges Courgnaud, will be on sale.
The turnkey 3,200 square foot bakery is equipped with state-of-the-art, state-of-the-art equipment. Formerly owned by Markus Schmid, who specializes in making German pretzels, Zimmerman said his impact on the Pender County community will not be lost.
“We continue to work with Markus to develop our own True Blue pretzels,” Zimmerman said.
There is no specific date as to the official opening of the doors of the bakery.
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