The Augusta area is getting one more opportunity to satisfy its sweet tooth with the opening of Edgar’s Hospitality’s latest venture – and there’s more to come.
Edgar’s Bakehouse held a soft opening Thursday, just a day after receiving its business license, and a grand opening will be held July 12 with a ribbon cutting at 8 a.m. The new venture is led by executive pastry chef for Edgar’s Hospitality Group, Michael Romano.
Located in the former Hire Grounds coffee shop next to Goodwill in Village West Shopping Center on Washington Road, Edgar’s Hospitality Group will continue to serve coffee but now with more delectable treats including cookies and pastries.
Romano has experience in four- and five-star restaurants and resorts in New York and also owned his own bakery.
“That’s what we were most intrigued with,” said James Stiff, president of Goodwill Middle Georgia and the CSRA. “Not only did he have the high level, Ritz-style training but he also had his own enterprise because we’re very entrepreneurial at Goodwill.”
Not only will Romano oversee the new pastry location but all of the baked goods from bread to desserts at all of the Edgar’s Hospitality Group locations, including the Pinnacle Club, the Snelling Conference Center, Edgar’s Grille and Edgar’s Above Broad. All of the items are made fresh and from scratch, Romano said, and include top-notch ingredients such as King Arthur flour, organic sugar, valrhona chocolate and European butter.
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“The hazelnut syrup that we serve in the coffee started as real hazelnuts and then we caramelized them,” he said.
The growth means the need for more space – and more workers. Goodwill is finalizing plans to use the former Social Inc. space, located between Edgar’s Bakehouse and Helm’s College, for a new commercial kitchen that will be used for pastries for all of the Edgar’s Hospitality venues. It will also have the ability to produce pastries for other restaurants. Romano is currently talking with restaurants about carrying their products.
The commercial kitchen will occupy 3,000 of the 5,000 square feet available in the space. A 2,000-square-foot student commons area will be located at the front of the space, Stiff said.
Meanwhile, Helms College will give students the opportunity to specialize in pastry making with a new pastry degree option. Students may currently take pastry classes as a part of the culinary degree. Curriculum for the program still must be reviewed by the Department of Education but Vice President of Culinary Education Bruce Ozga said he expects the year-long program will be ready by April and will have approximately 50 students each year.
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