The beloved Ballard bakery, known for its perfectly flaky kouign amanns and croissants, reminiscent of those found in Parisian boulangeries, is changing ownership. After 17 years, owners James Miller and his wife Kaire are ready for a change.
“We’ve accomplished our goals there,” says Miller, a three-time James Beard Award semifinalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef. Indeed, he and Kaire built a cafe where 7am lines for fresh quiche and pastries were the norm, perhaps even a welcomed ritual for some. But now, the duo along with their daughter are packing up and moving to Spain. There, the family will lay down roots at their new Catalan property called Mas Costa, a rural 16th century masía with apartments, rooms, a large garden, communal kitchen—the whole agritourism works, where they’ll host wandering travelers.
They’ve been wanting to move back to Spain for a while, says Miller, and after five years of searching they’ll leave for their new home in the outskirts of—where else?—Besalu.
Their last days in Cafe Besalu will be at the end of May, so be sure get your farewells in before then. The laminated dough–making will be left in the capable hands of longtime Cafe Besalu bakers. And the coffee, well, that surely won’t change either. Herkimer Coffee owner Mike Prins assures that they really have no anticipated changes to report. “We have been fans of [Cafe] Besalu going back to when it opened in 2000,” Prins says, adding, “We love it and plan to keep things the way they are.” The only changeup: Prins eventually wants it to be open seven days a week, rather than five.
Keep tabs of the Millers on their Mas Costa blog as they set off to teach workshops and host “cool events and classes with chef friends.” Warning: Images of grand stone dwellings, grazing donkeys, and arched doorways may deeply influence booking flights to Spain.