In 2018, Anthony and Amanda Stromoski brought the unique concept of Rough Draft, an indie bookshop-bar-café, to Uptown Kingston. The business quickly became a go-to hangout spot for artful lattés or craft beer without the volume of bar crowds.
At the same time, Aaron Quint, a software engineer with a penchant for baking, was using self-taught techniques to bake and sell artisanal bread from his home around the corner to a growing list of customers. “I worked remotely, and it was hard being at the computer all the time and only interacting with people remotely,” Quint explains. “I got into dough making, and like most of my hobbies, became a little obsessed.”
As his business grew, the neighborly Stromoskis invited Quint to use Rough Draft’s kitchen, which led to the inception of Kingston Bread Lab, a weekly, in-store pop-up bakery. The natural next step was a storefront, and the trio partnered to open Kingston Bread + Bar in the coveted Uptown space that formerly belonged to short-lived Greek restaurant Kovo Rotisserie, which had been meticulously renovated just three years prior.
They hired local woodworker Ian Von Miller to craft tables made to encourage conversation and hung artwork by renowned fiber artist Kat Howard, Quint’s wife. Sixteen taps behind a white marble bar pour local craft beers by the likes of West Kill Brewing and Suarez Family Brewery, as well as ciders, nitro cold brew coffee, and two draft cocktails batched in-house by bar manager Crimson Krier. You’ll find bread, flaky pastries, and glossy Danishes on display at the shop’s far end.
The Bread + Bar’s menu is largely influenced by Quint’s Jewish heritage and the Mediterranean food he grew up eating. Breakfast options include bagels, light bites, and pastries — pain au chocolat is a hit. Lunch features a rotating selection of soups and sandwiches like The Veg with curry chickpeas, yogurt, and cucumber. Evenings are for small plates and sharable charcuterie. “I wanted to make the place I wished Uptown had,” Quint explains, “where you can stop in for lunch, or come by after work and just hang for a while; a casual spot where you can grab a drink or two and share a bunch of food with friends.”
But nothing throws off a test-kitchen phase like a global pandemic. Kingston Bread + Bar officially opened on February 4 — just about a month before restaurants were ordered to cease dine-in services due to coronavirus concerns.
“We voluntarily closed before the official order came through and were fully closed for two weeks,” Quint explains. “We started doing a weekly bake for pickup and delivery, which became twice weekly, letting us rehire some of our key employees. It started slow, but then we were selling out extremely quickly.”
For now, the bakery is offering loaves, pastries, cookies, pizza kits, beer and wine, coffee, and even a sourdough starter, among other foods through their website. Until the dine-in ban is lifted, pickup is available on Wednesday and Saturday, and items must be preordered.
“We’ve had to reorganize and adapt our kitchen to the new flow and setup, and it’s been really hard,” says Quint. “But we’re having a lot of success dialing-in our recipes and figuring out new things to bake.”
Until the dining room reopens, temporary pickup hours are Wed and Sat, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Preorder for pickup the day before. Delivery is available with limitations; see website for details.
Regular hours, when reopened: Tues–Sun, 8 a.m.–11 p.m.
3 N Front St, Kingston. 845.802.0021