Please join us in welcoming Spün Bakery to the 317 Cafe this month. Those of you who sampled Don Gaile’s quality baked goods at the Yarmouth Farmers’ Market last summer know what a coup this is. Don and his staff will offer baked goods, granolas, yogurt parfaits, coffee drinks, teas, cocoa and more 8 am -7 pm Monday-Friday beginning on March 27. They’re also happy to take your custom orders.
We sat down with Don to learn more about his family’s move from NYC to Maine, his passion for baking and the umlaut.
So….how exactly do we pronounce “Spün?”
It’s pronounced ‘spoon’. I have to give credit to my son, Justin, for the name inspiration. When the bakery was in the planning stages I knew I wanted a one word name that really stood for everything while being playful and fun at the same time. There were a few names we tried but none really felt right. For inspiration we went through the list of menu items. Nothing came to mind until Justin said, “It’s like you can eat everything with a spoon.” Pow! We knew we had the name! The unique spelling was something that came right after. I just felt being obvious wouldn’t be enough. If you notice, the ü looks like a smiley face. That’s another goal of the company – to always put a smile on your face.
Have you always been a baker?
I developed my passion for cooking and baking after I graduated from college and realized I had to feed myself. My first cookbook was The Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. I was so inspired by the interesting flavors and recipes.
I spent the first 25 of my post-college professional years working in New York City in all sorts of industries including financial services, advertising & branding, internet marketing, website design & technology and international consulting. I’ve always been lucky enough to follow my passions within those industries.
I’ve had careers in operations management, training & development, human resources and film & video production. Apartment living in New York City is compact but I always made sure I had a big kitchen! Would you believe I almost always had an eat-in kitchen wherever I lived? That’s a pretty rare thing in New York!
Having spent all my working life living in New York City I realized my needs and desires had changed and it was time to make a move away from the noise, congestion and hustle of the city to a place where my family could enjoy nature and smaller town living. I knew I couldn’t stay in the career I was in if we moved so I thought seriously about what other passions I had. Well, it was staring me right in the face! So about 2 years before I moved to Freeport I started testing recipes, bringing different treats to work and sending out a lot of food gifts to see the response. I also spent some time with friends in the food industry to get their perspective. Once we moved to Freeport I knew I wanted to start small and take my time to cultivate a following and develop an interesting menu. I started at 3 farmers markets last season and contributing quite a bit to local causes including the Freeport Players Association, Wolfe’s Neck Farm and Freeport Middle School. It was really the perfect way to start things. I had an opportunity to meet so many people, share and hear stories and develop wonderful relationships.
Why start a cafe?
The cafe is the perfect next step to the farmers’ markets. Partnering with 317 Main makes a lot of sense to me because we are both so passionate about good food. I found the folks in Yarmouth and surrounding communities have a keen appreciation of food that is thoughtfully prepared. They are also open to exploring new things. I can’t tell you how many people didn’t know what babka was but quickly became hooked on it! I’m very interested in community involvement so I’ll be asking for feedback along the way. For example, I have been sampling some of the locally roasted coffees. They are all so good but I’m having a hard time deciding what to do. You’ll have the ability to offer your feedback on your preference. That will help me decide which direction to go in. We’ll also have weekly musically-focused trivia contests with prizes and periodic performances from the faculty and students at 317 Main.
What will you offer in the cafe?
My plans include offering an assortment of baked goods and special treats. Those include scones, muffins, pastries, cookies, bars, whoopie pies, granola, jams, chutneys, crumb cake, donuts and babka. Plus I will add items that I couldn’t have at the farmers’ markets due to weather and temperature issues. Those items include cakes, cupcakes, custards, yogurt parfaits, local coffees, teas and other beverages. Things will continue to be seasonal taking full advantage of local farms and I’ll also be bringing new and different things to try. When we’re in full swing for the season you can expect a plethora of fruit pies just like last summer! We’ll also accommodate special cake and cupcake orders for celebrations. We will be partnering with other local vendors to feature their products. That includes local handmade bread, honey, yogurt and cheese. Eventually I would like to expand the menu into more savory items including pressed sandwiches, pot pies and other delicious comfort foods. Let’s just say there is a lot to look forward to!
When will you be open?
We’re going to start with a specific set schedule and change it as customer needs change. We’ll be open Monday through Friday from 8:00am-7:00pm. We anticipate eventually opening earlier for the morning rush folks and weekends too.
Will you share a favorite recipe with us?
One of my favorite things on a cold winter day is a warm mug of hot chocolate. It satisfies my giant sweet tooth and brings back fond childhood memories. Forget that powdered stuff in the envelope. It’s very easy to make your own with good ingredients you can easily find in your pantry or in the market. The addition of the unsweetened chocolate adds tons of chocolate flavor without the added sugar. A kid version of this might be to substitute the dark chocolate for milk chocolate. We’ll definitely be serving these at the cafe!