Let’s say it’s time for a grocery store run. The cupboards are bare, and you’re hungry. Time to stock up on a few items, but the thought of going to the grocery store doesn’t exactly top your list of fun things to do. The parking, the crowded aisles, the lines, the search for that elusive item you really need and have no idea where to find in the vast warehouse-ness of it all. Who thought it was a good idea to put vinegar in the paper-supplies aisle?
Now, let’s say there’s a grocery store in the downtown Colorado Springs neighborhood—you can even walk there if you live nearby. Let’s say this grocery store is really more of a market, housed in an inviting mellow yellow building with huge windows on the corner of Nevada and Moreno, and it’s called Bread & Butter Neighborhood Market.
As soon as you walk in, you feel welcome. The first thing you spot is a collection of beautiful, delicate pastries, all dressed up in their little muffin papers, shining like beacons on the shelves in the glass-fronted pastry case, which is right next to the fresh coffee in case you’d like a cup as you peruse the place. Then, there are the beautiful, plump loaves of sourdough bread with artful cutouts carved on top, just waiting to be gently torn and slathered with a thick pat of hand-rolled sweet cream butter. You might be in the mood for a nice big sangwich—yes, sangwich—stuffed with Italian sausage and fresh mozzarella. And, if you’re leaning toward the sangwich plan, you might want a nice bottle of red wine to go with that, so you saunter over to the wines, brews, and spirits side of the market.
“I had been working in a small kitchen here in town and just couldn’t do it anymore,” says Saunders. “I knew I had to get back to my passion, which was baking, and I knew that Colorado Springs was ready for an artisan bread bakery. Sourdough is the perfect medium for artisanal bread.”
About that same time, Saunders’ father was diagnosed with prediabetes, and Saunders knew that diabetics could have sourdough bread “because it’s fermented, and that process changes bread entirely. It can actually help reduce one’s glycemic index if they are eating properly,” says Saunders. “It is easier on the digestive system, and it also unlocks the nutrients in grains—even white flour—that otherwise would just pass through the body.”
It turns out that sourdough has many unique qualities due to that fermentation process. “Sourdough is okay for people with gluten sensitivities,” says Saunders, “but we let them make that decision. Our extra sour sourdough is fermented for over 24 hours, and some people who have extreme sensitivities can have it. The percentage of gluten is under the amount the USDA has for gluten-free products, which I believe is 20 parts per million.”
And now, fast-forward eight years: The Sourdough Boulangerie has grown from its humble beginnings in a small shop just east of Powers Blvd. at 6453 Omaha to expanding into the entire building. “We’ve outgrown the space, but we make it work,” says Saunders. “We now have about 30 wholesale customers and continue to grow at a steady, manageable rate.”
Talk about a success story! Learn more about the Sourdough Boulangerie, including Sourdough Pizza Saturdays (!), at thesourdoughboulangerie.com and on FB. The bakery offers a full slate of bread products, and like Bread & Butter, generous offerings of locally sourced products.
The Bread & Butter Neighborhood Market is downtown’s one and only fresh food market, a very welcome addition indeed, complete with unheard-of free downtown parking. And what makes this market especially special is that owners Aubrey Day and Stacy Poore stock locally sourced products.
“We focus on Colorado grown/made/prepared products as much as is practical,” says Poore. “Our process for the market is local first—meaning Colorado. What we can’t find locally, we seek elsewhere to be a truly reliable and fully stocked grocery store with everything from unique local offerings to standard, pantry basics. If someone has a product they’d like to sell in our store, we welcome the conversation. Our success comes from the community’s desire to support local, and we like to do the same.”
The mouthwatering pastries and bagels come from a number of local vendors, such as the Snowberry Bakehouse; that beautiful sourdough bread comes from the Sourdough Boulangerie; and the hand-rolled sweet cream butter comes from the Sawatch Butter & Cheese company—all of which are here in town. The sangwich-making Italian sausage comes from the Gaglianos Sausage Company in Pueblo. The list goes on, right on up to fresh flowers for the table, thanks to the Sweetwater Flower Market, yes, here in town.
Day and Poore opened Bread & Butter in September 2020, “right in the middle of the pandemic,” says Day. “We had already signed a lease that March and were underway on improvements to the building. Grocery had been deemed an essential service during the pandemic (rightly so), so we charged forward.
“First and foremost, we have worked really hard to bring quality food and spirits to an area that was previously devoid of a fresh food market. We want everyone to feel welcome and invited and to enjoy shopping at Bread & Butter. We are trying new things and adding new product every day in response to the needs and requests of our customers. Our business plan includes events and tastings and all sorts of fun ways for people to experience the store that we are excited to offer once the time is right.”
Bread & Butter offers a good selection of organic foods, a large section of fresh produce, a number of frozen ready-made items, and of course nonfood essentials. “We believe that a neighborhood market not only brings food where it is needed, but fosters community in a variety of ways,” says Poore.