Reunion Bakery & Espresso Raises the Bar on Coffee & Pastries
Bryan Hollar is a corporate dropout, and he likes that just fine. In fact, when you talk to him, it’s hard to even imagine him in a suit and tie.
Likeable and easy to talk with, we learned his passion for America’s go-to combo, coffee and pastries, started after he quit Corporate America.
“It was a confluence of factors that led me to baking,” he said on a relatively quiet Monday morning in his cafe, Reunion Bakery & Espresso.
In a quest to carve out a new career beginning, he took a couple of trips abroad and hung out with a close friend who became an oven builder.
He then moved to Pennsylvania and worked for a high-end French pastry shop as a “lowly pastry assistant.” In two years, he worked his way up to managing the kitchen that baked croissants.
Eventually, he left there and worked for a year with a catering company. The pace was less hectic and the work more creative and gratifying.
“But I realized I didn’t want to work in a big city anymore, and my parents were getting older,” he said. His parents, who both work at Washington & Lee University, welcomed the idea of Brian moving closer to them.
The stars were aligning in his favor as Brian met some great Staunton business owners who encouraged his idea of a European coffee shop and bakery. The building he currently occupies was up for sale. And with a little help from family and friends, he bought and renovated it.
Reunion Bakery & Espresso Delivers A Different Kind of Coffee Shop Experience
Not really just a coffee shop or just a bakery shop, Reunion is a solid blend of both with an eye towards expanding the menu to serve Foccacia and soups. But even that isn’t what makes this cafe such a stand out.
Everything in the shop is made from scratch with the highest quality ingredients they can find. True to Bryan’s passion for quality, almost all of the ingredients are locally sourced.
Syrups are homemade and traditional yeast isn’t used to make the pastries. Instead, the cafe uses a natural wild yeasted leaven. “If there’s something I don’t feel 100% about, we’re not going to do it,” Bryan said.
You can literally taste the difference.
Bryan does all the baking for what he calls the “production workhorse stuff.” He makes the croissants, cinnamon buns, and so on.
Amanda Green, pastry chef from Lexington, makes all the “fussier stuff.” Between the two, Reunion Bakery & Espresso offers some of the finest quality European pastries around.
Coffee Talk & Ambience
The other half of good comfort food is coffee. Bryan uses Red Rooster Coffee roaster in Floyd, VA because they share the same dedication and passion for quality.
“People tell us our coffee is the best thing going.”
If you still have doubts about how good this cafe is, you won’t when you walk through the doors. Bryan is also fussy about the ambiance. For example, he didn’t want any fluorescent lights because they are too harsh.
So look around. You’ll see that all the light fixtures have soft bulb lighting. And that’s just what you need when you sit down to enjoy the best cup of coffee and pastry this side of heaven!
When you stay at the Inn at Old Virginia, be sure to stop by Reunion Bakery & Espresso. Then tell us all about your new favorite pastry and latte.
Book your stay with us now!