Donald Link had a "sinking feeling" even before he unveiled the new almond croissants. It started in late November, on the last day before Link officially took over ownership of La BoulangerieLink made the colors different. He did... something bad, I guess, to the croissants. I had an opportunity to sample those almond croissants lately. They are actually quite good. But nevermind that. The Uptowners are restless. The world was once their eclair but not it is filled with ennui.
"I just got this weird vibe. I could feel the glares," said Link, the award-winning chef, who was in the Uptown French bakery that day. "People were saying, 'Don't change this. Don't change that.'"
Not long after, during the short period La Boulangerie was closed for renovations, Link found a woman waiting for him when he arrived at the bakery. "She said, 'I'm from New York, and me and my friend who lives here were talking about these paint colors,'" Link recalled, referring to the bakery's interior walls. They didn't like the colors.
Social media seethed with disapproval soon after La Boulangerie reopened in early December. One Yelp reviewer, echoing the sentiments of others, called the new bakery "a pale imitation of its former glorious self." Another wrote of being overcome by "cold stark sadness upon discovering what it is like now."That's.. well that sounds pretty serious. We know sugar withdrawl might lead to temporary depression but maybe folks need to have their medication checked as well before someone does something creepy. Whoops, too late.
Faye Lieder, a one-time bakery regular active in neighborhood issues, sent printouts of the Nextdoor.com complaints to the chef in the mail.Y'all know this is bread, right? And that the bread is still pretty much the same bread you've been getting.
"Donald Link: Are you listening?" read one of Lieder's posts, from Dec. 19.
"We're using the same recipes," Link said. "Dominique's son still makes the croissants. Carlos, the guy who made the bread before, still makes the bread."I'm aware that some of the gluten-free items previously on the menu have been discarded. But it's hard to reconcile all this fetishization of "authentic French baking" with the faddish impulse toward gluten-phobia. But then again, these are Uptowners we're talking about. There's really no telling what's going to set them off at any given moment.
Lieder's list of grievances includes the banquette and the color photographs that replaced the signs painted by Simon, the New Orleans artist. "The coffee area has moved, which is kind of strange," Lieder said. "It feels more like the set-up for a franchise."Oh my god they moved the coffee. My apologies, this cannot be allowed to stand. Call out the city sections and let the bread riot commence. Allons enfants de la pastry. Or maybe just let them eat gourmet cupcakes. You can get those just another mile or so up the road because, of course you can.
Remember a few years ago the (still in limbo) Hubig's Pie company was considering an Uptown location for its new bakery. It was probably a good decision to shelve that idea. Imagine what the Nextdoor forums would look like if a neighbor suddenly discovered the sweet potato flavor wasn't quite what it used to be.