Baker Butcher, the newest addition to the international cafés at Fifth Street Market, is rustic-chic and simple. There’s a chalkboard menu, Mason jar chandeliers and colorful wallboards. The kitchen sits in front of your eyes, and the periodic dull horn from the nearby train over the muted chatter of eaters creates an energetic hum that sets a perfect brunchy atmosphere.
It might seem like just Italian fare with lots of “-otto,” “-iti” and “-atta” foods on the menu, but co-owner Scott Garrett says the quiche is one of the best sellers. And on weekends, his wife and co-owner Nicole Garrett makes cinnamon rolls that have been known to sell out in 20 minutes. Sometimes she even adds prosciutto.
The Caesar salad is crisp, with a tangy sweet dressing and authentic Italian cheese, and the bistecca and peppers sandwich offers a savory delight. The butcher’s block features a smattering of bite-sized cheese and charcuterie, and even the kids’ menu, reasonably priced at $5 a meal, includes the true classics for the munchkins’ appetites.
Beyond the menu, this couple’s story is what brings the authentic Italian-family vibe to Baker Butcher. After a car accident in Mexico put her brother, Deputy Drew Wattier, and his wife Michelle Wattier in critical condition in December 2012, Nicole Garrett knew she wanted to be near her family. They moved to Eugene, where she had grown up, from Los Angeles where they had worked in other people’s restaurants for several years. Both were working full time as they were putting the restaurant together, but every detail of the décor is well planned and holds a story about family.
“We’d have work parties with pizza and beer and 30 people would show up,” Nicole Garrett says.
Scott Garett recalls that beyond friends and family, most restaurateurs in the area were more than welcoming when they first arrived. He spent time meeting with owners and getting a feel for the community.
At Baker Butcher, this close-knit community is apparent: The two $20 bills framed over the bar were Nicole Garrett’s brother’s best friend’s nudge of encouragement to start their dream, and her brother and sister-in-law’s initials are etched into the boards behind the bar.
The couple met while learning the tricks of the trade at The Broadmoor’s culinary apprenticeship in Colorado Springs, a five-star hotel with a three-year, 6,000-hour program. Scott identifies himself as the butcher, while Nicole is the baker.
Just three days after they opened in October 2013, the couple found out Nicole Garrett was pregnant. They say that being life partners as well as business partners isn’t a problem, though, since they both have so much experience in the field.
“But when he’s cooking in the kitchen, he’s not my husband,” Nicole says. “He’s an animal.”
Baker Butcher is hosting a beer lunch on June 4 at Claim 52, 1030 Tyinn St., and caters regularly. For more details or registration for the lunch, call 541-686-9199.
Baker Butcher is open 11 am to 7 pm Monday through Thursday, 11 am to 8 pm Friday, 8 am to 8 pm Saturday and 8 am to 5 pm Sunday at Fifth Street Market, 296 E. 5th Ave., bakerbutcher.com.