“Have you been to Nathaniel Reid Bakery in Kirkwood?” I’ve been asked repeatedly. When I said I had not, one of my inquirers responded by grabbing my arm, looking me in the eye and saying firmly, “Then, you must go as soon as possible!”
So when Russ and I were driving along Manchester recently, I suggested we look for the bakery. As it turned out, it was tucked away in an inconspicuous, little strip mall just west of Geyer.
“What’s so great about this place?” my son asked, as we pulled into the park lot.
All I knew was what I’d heard and read. “It’s only been open 6 months, but already people speak of the place in the same lofty tones they reserve for a pâtisserie on the Champs-Élysées.”
Reid: A Pastry Chef of International Renown
I did a quick Goggle search. The owners, Nathaniel Reid and his wife Lee Lee Reid are both professional pastry chefs. Nathaniel is from Farmington and a Mizzou graduate. In recent years, he’s gained international fame, graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and working in luxury hotel restaurants around the world, including the Ritz-Carlton in St. Louis and Joël Roubuchon’s restaurant in Vegas.
Reid was labeled “Pastry Chef of the Year” at the 2010 U.S. Pastry Competition and one of the “Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America” in 2012 by Dessert Professional Magazine. (You can watch Chef Reid demonstrate icing one of his cakes ion this YouTube clip.)
Impressive! Off we went to see for ourselves . . .
When we walked in, people were sitting on stools in the front window, munching on sandwiches, salads, and sweets. Those croissants and French baguettes stuffed with meat and cheeses looked pretty tasty, but we had just eaten lunch, so we headed straight for the dessert displays.
Like the proverbial fly in the candy shop, there was so much sweet, we didn’t know where to land first. I had read that the display cases are temperature and humidity controlled, which means there’s attention given to detail in this place. As I pointed my finger on the glass case, saying, “I’ll take one of those. . . and one of those. . ,” it reminded me of my visits to Pop’s Candy counter in the little store next to my grade school, where I’d ask for a penny’s worth or this and that, using the same finger-pointing method.
We each left with a flaky, buttery croissant. I greatly enjoyed the chocolate ones I had in Paris a few years ago. When I reviewed photos I had made at Nathaniel’s, I realized that I’d overlooked their chocolate and almond croissants. Drats! Oh, well, next time. We shared the Lemon Cake Cookie over a cup of their Kaldi’s coffee. That was our dessert. For a later time, we got a few delicate macaroons (made with all natural coloring) and Russ took home a house-made chocolate bar with hazelnuts atop.
It would have been such fun to walk out the door with a baguette under my arm Parisian style, but I suppressed the urge. Though as I left, I swore I caught a glimpse of Snoopy, clutching a croissant and doing a happy dance in the corner.
Post Note to Self: My Yelp app says Nathaniel Reid Bakery is a mere 19 minutes from my condo.
Nathaniel Reid Bakery, 11243 Manchester Road (In the small strip mall west of Geyer). Open: Mon-Sat 7a-6p.