The Ovens are Warming Up and the Doors are Almost Open at the New Rustica Location in Wayzata

Rustica Bakery brings its favorites—and a few new things—to Wayzata.

Rustica Bakery has been creating delicious, award-winning baked goods on the shore of Lake Calhoun since 2004. This year, following a season of expansion for the bread-centered brand, Wayzata welcomes the newest Rustica Bakery and Café.

Dogwood Coffee co-founder Greg Hoyt bought Rustica in 2015 with the intention of building on the brand’s reputation for top-quality products and simple, powerful flavors (and adding a shot of Dogwood to the mix). The company has been growing ever since, opening a second Rustica at the historic Smith Douglas More House in Eden Prairie and a Mall of America concept shop serving cookies and soft-serve ice cream under the same name.

The daily baking schedule at the flagship location—the only one with a production kitchen to date—began to take on a figurative muffin-top, bursting at the seams to keep up with increased demand. So Rustica is expanding west in a big way with a 10,000-square-foot bakery and café space.

With more space, Hoyt is pursuing a beer and wine license for the store so it can pair local brews and glasses of wine with its signature baked goods, hot sandwiches and fresh grab-and-go entrées. But Hoyt won’t venture far from the tried-and-true joys that Rustica has built its name on.

“It’s simple, fresh, not pretentious. We have a modest menu of intentionally sourced items,” says Hoyt. The company buys directly from producers instead of a larger-scale distributor, so it’s able to keep the menu—and ingredients—local and higher-end. Says Hoyt, “We only buy things we’re excited about.” Seasonal produce and other ingredients are key, but the essence of Rustica comes down to handmade bread—and the ethos that comes with baking and breaking it.

“At the heart of Rustica is our approach to bread—it’s an artisan take on French-style bread: a hard crust, soft inside, beautiful crumb. Creating our baguette is a painstaking process, but we love it,” Hoyt says. “We have an intense passion for amazing bread.”

At Rustica Calhoun recently, that mildly obsessive baking process has started at midnight, with a team of bakers processing dough that is mixed, shaped and formed the day before. But “there’s only so much room in the oven, and only so much room to store dough. We’re out of room,” says Hoyt. He says juggling the baking schedule—and making the decision to expand—has been part science and part art. “We have to fit all the pieces together—different doughs and leavening time; we can only do so much with one crew and one oven. It was time.”

At the new Wayzata location, there will not only be added capacity for baking, but also a new twist on the café experience. Visitors will, quite literally, have a window into the baking process, with gigantic panes of glass allowing guests to watch bakers in action. Shea Design will run point on the renovation. They’ll capitalize on existing infrastructure, make the gigantic space feel a little more homey, and bring baking to the forefront while keeping the feel “unpretentious and rustic,” says Hoyt. “The aesthetic will be consistent with our message.”

A top priority is investing in high-quality, long-lasting equipment for the production kitchen and coffee bar—even if that means trimming the budget a bit on decorative finishes. “Our aim is to ensure the best-quality products and the best staff,” explains Hoyt. “We’re not overspending on fireplaces and couches.”

So why Wayzata? The demographics fit, for one, and there’s already a loyal Rustica fan base living in the western suburbs. And Hoyt developed a love for the area as a Caribou Coffee manager there in the mid-1990s. It’s where he honed his own coffee-slinging skills and watched American coffee culture go up a notch. Cup by cup, day by day, he fell in love with the village-like feel of the community.

Since then, the Dogwood brand has become synonymous with local third-wave coffee, specializing in high-touch presentation and barista-made works of art served up in porcelain cups. That same attention to detail is going to be core to the new Rustica. Says Hoyt, “This opportunity was, for me, a great opportunity to increase production ability and also be able to be a part of the community I’ve loved for 20 years.”

Breakfast à la Rustica

There’s not much that rivals a hot, savory breakfast sandwich to start the day. We asked Rustica chef Ty Beucler to share his recipe for his signature—if a little sinful—Rustica Eggwich.

“When people bite into an Eggwich, I hope they stop and think, ‘This is a great breakfast sandwich.’ It’s not complicated or overthought,” says Beucler. “It’s just simple soft-scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese—it’s comforting and relatable to everyone.”

Tomato Fondue Spread
(Make this first and chill. It freezes well, so don’t get overwhelmed by the quantity!)

1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 fresh garlic cloves, minced
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 c. caraway seeds
1/8 c. sherry vinegar
2 16-oz. cans Carmelina San Marzano     stewed tomatoes

Sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil for 3 minutes. Toss in the caraway seeds and lemon, and cook until fragrant. Add 1 c. tomatoes and let the mixture reduce until it has a nice brown color. Deglaze pan with sherry vinegar, whisking the flavorful bits off the bottom of the pan, and reduce, about 2-3 minutes. Add the remaining tomatoes and stew for 45 minutes at a light simmer. When cool, blend until smooth.

Eggs (2 per sandwich; Rustica buys theirs at Owatonna-based Larry Schultz Organic Farm)
2-year aged white cheddar cheese
(At Rustica, it’s Hook’s.)
Applewood smoked bacon (Beucler
suggests Benton’s or Beeler’s. Try
saying that four times fast.)
Rustica brioche buns (Available at Rustica or several local co-ops,
4 for $4.75)
Fresh chives

In a separate pan, soft-scramble the eggs with butter. Add minced chives and some shredded white cheddar. Toast the halved brioche on a griddle, with butter, and pile on 2 slices of bacon and 1/2 T. of the tomato fondue spread per sandwich. It’ll be a little messy, so be sure you’ve got napkins or are among friends. Enjoy!