GREENWICH, CT — Customers who pay a visit to Cobs Bread, a new bakery that recently opened in Greenwich, will find an extensive menu filled with a variety of breads and other baked goods.
They won't, however, be able to find bagels, muffins or cookies. (To sign up for Greenwich breaking news alerts and more, click here.)
Rob Hyden, who owns the bakery with his wife, Louise, said there's a reason for that.
"We're a bread-focused business," Hyden said, "so the breads are the main focus."
The new shop, which opened in the Riverside area of town in early September, is part of a franchise that was founded in Australia and has hundreds of locations across the globe. In 2015, Hyden helped open the Australian bread chain's first U.S. location on High Ridge Road in Stamford.
A former Greenwich resident, the owners next set their eyes on Riverside, an area they knew well after having lived on Lockwood Road for over a decade.
Hyden said the store is situated in a "high-traffic area" at 5 Riverside Lane, next to the Greenwich Fish Company.
"I think the community in Riverside...it's a more casual lifestyle," Hyden said. "That consumer suits the product. We're not about finished sandwiches; we're about giving you great raw material to go and prepare your own foods."
The model of Cobs Bread is different from most other U.S. bakeries in a number of ways. The bakery's scones, for instance, are much moister than a typical scone, Hyden said.
They also come in a variety of flavors, including lemon blueberry and white chocolate.
"They're a big seller," Hyden said, "and the seasonal pumpkin scones are [selling] well."
He also noted the bakery has seen "good interest" in all of its breads, which include white, cinnamon, sourdough and cape seed loaves, as well as cheesy pull-apart breads and varieties of baguettes and buns, according to the bakery chain's website.
"People are gradually getting educated on what else we have," Hyden said. "We've got about 70 products today, so that's a much wider range than you'll see elsewhere."
Though safety measure put in place due to the coronavirus currently prevent the bakery from being able to offer samples of products, Hyden recommended customers be adventurous while at the shop.
"Every time you come in, I'd recommend trying something [new]," Hyden said, "because what you had elsewhere and what you expect to be the best product might not be the best product."
He said their plain white flour loaf is "unbelievable," however customers might be hesitant to try it as other plain loaves can be "flavorless and boring."
"The flavor in our traditional plain breads is significantly better than you'll get anywhere else," Hyden said, "so try all the products. I think you'll have a great experience."
While opening a new business in light of the coronavirus pandemic can come with a number of challenges, Hyden said the process of opening the Riverside bakery was smooth.
"We've got a restriction on how many people at a time we can have in the shop," Hyden said, "but even with that [business] is very strong."
He also joked that one of the store's challenges is getting customers in and out of the store "before they pass out from boredom."
In fact, the store is designed to process a large amount of people at once, and employees are all well-versed in the shop's products, so they can talk customers through them and offer recommendations, the owner said.
"We could have five or six people serving customers at a time, which we obviously can't [right now]," Hyden said. "So the main challenge is how to get people in and out efficiently, and as we go into the winter months we're going to look into that."
Everything sold at the bakery is baked fresh every day, and all products leftover at the end of each business day is donated to Neighbor to Neighbor and other local charities, Hyden said.
"If you come here and shop, you will never get day-old bread," Hyden said. "That goes to charity, and we start from scratch. It's all scratch-baked products; no preservatives."
Overall, Hyden is grateful for the warm reception the bakery has received from the community during its first month of operation.