A new bakery and cafe is coming to Westmoreland from some seasoned San Francisco industry alums. Communion Bakehouse, opening in former Satellite Dream Pizza location on SE Milwaukie, should start baking breads this winter, serving breakfast pastries, Extracto coffee, and bacon palmiers.
Co-owners Katharine Zacher (Bar Tartine) and Ryan Ostler (Jook Joint) met working at San Francisco institution Boulevard, before they went on to run a cafe out of the Google campus. The two moved up to Portland, where Ostler opened his food cart, serving pork belly bao and Thai sausage hot dogs. Communion Bakehouse should incorporate both of the chefs’ skill sets, with Zacher working on breads and laminated pastries and Ostler working on smoked meats, fish, and house-made sausages.
The menu is still in development, but the two have thrown around ideas: Zacher wants to sell a variety of breads loaded with cheese, herbs, and roasted vegetables, “almost like a mini-meal,” she says, as well as savory scones and danishes. “We draw from a lot of different cultures, and we try to work in the elements we like the most — a lot of vibrancy, colors, textures, fresh herbs,” Zacher says. “I still love French pastry, but I like to spice it up a little bit.”
Ostler will smoke fish for cured fish plates with Finnish-style rye, while also making house sausage and bacon for breakfast sandwiches. “I come from a background of Texas barbecue, so I’m pretty versed with a smoker,” he says. “It’s such a versatile tool, doing something as delicate as fish, or something as bulky as smoked brisket. It’s totally possible that you could see both, either on the menu.” The two are also big proponents of native fermentation, aka using naturally occurring yeasts for breads, pickles, and hot sauces.
The tiny house-turned-cafe will retain its pizza ovens, but they won’t come into use just yet. In the summer, the two plan to serve house-baked pizzas, serving pies on the 22-seat cafe’s front patio. Inside, the decor is clean, bright, and airy, incorporating sacred geometry into the design aesthetic — a little touch of woo for Westmoreland. Stay tuned for more about Communion Bakehouse as it approaches its opening date.