Popular Port Townsend bakery opens in Sequim

After months of planning and preparation, an ambitious trio of bakers and bread-lovers is bringing a taste of Europe to Sequim.

Linda Yakush, Donald Yakush and Frank d'Amore plan to celebrate the soft opening of Pane d'Amore Artisan Bakery on Thursday, June 11. A grand opening celebration isn't scheduled yet.

"Opening the doors is 'grand' enough for us," Linda Yakush said.

"We just want to start selling stuff."

The threesome has an unusual but "strong and effective" relationship, according to d'Amore.

Linda Yakush and Donald Yakush are divorced; Linda Yakush and Frank d'Amore are partners in love and life.

The focus, however, is on the food not the family ties, all three agreed.

Linda Yakush and d'Amore opened Pane d'Amore bakery in Port Townsend six years ago after d'Amore sustained an injury that prevented him from continuing his career as a finish carpenter. Faced with a major life change, Linda Yakush said she encouraged d'Amore to return to his passion of baking and hasn't regretted the decision even once.

"Our business has done so well (in Port Townsend) and we haven't suffered at all in these grim economic times," Linda Yakush said.

"We have a lot of customers from Sequim and decided this was the road for us," she said about opening the second location.

Donald Yakush designed and remodeled the Sequim branch at 150 S. Fifth Ave.

Bread is the bakery's main focus but traditional breakfast pastries - such as croissants and Danishes - cookies, chocolate stuffed figs, truffles and other tasty treats are baked daily.

Favorites on the menu include canelé - a portable crème brûlée - and Parisian macaroons, two items Pane d'Amore is "famous" for in Port Townsend, Linda Yakush said.

The macaroons, she said, are "unusual, fussy and difficult but beautiful and delicious."

Donuts - which are more of a deep-fat-fried treat than a traditional pastry, according to d'Amore - aren't sold.

The store walls are covered with black-and-white photographs of the baking process, taken of the crew at the bakery in Port Townsend.

Combined, the two locations employ more than 20 people.

"It's a very, very special bakery with a lot of specialty items," Linda Yakush said.

"Stop by and get everything you need for a nice picnic."

The store carries a full line of products from RITROVO(r), an Italian company that sells antipasti and meals in a jar,

artisanal vinegars and extra virgin olive oils, pastas, sauces and condiments, grains, nuts and legumes, salts and spices, spreads, crackers, cookies and chocolate.

Bread from Pane d'Amore is served at Alder Wood Bistro and Cedarbrook Garden Café.

When possible, Pane d'Amore utilizes local farmers and growers. The eggs are purchased from Wildwood Farm in Chimacum, the carrots used in the muffins are from Nash's Organic Produce, the cheese is trucked over from Mount Townsend Creamery in Port Townsend, and the flour travels from a little farther away in eastern Washington.

"Whatever we can source locally, we do," Linda Yakush said.

"It's the right thing to do."

Leftovers never go to waste. Items left on the shelves are donated to the food bank, area assisted-living centers and farmers to feed their chickens, hogs and cattle.

"The chickens that lay our eggs eat our old bread and then we use those eggs," Linda Yakush said.

"It's a nice circle."

The Port Townsend branch averages 1,000 pounds of bread per day - producing more than 12 varieties and 36 shapes. That number increases to between 1,500-2,000 in the summer. The Sequim bakery is expected to produce just as much, if not more.

"We are the most productive bakery on the peninsula by far," d'Amore said. "We want people to think of us as somebody who will meet all their needs."

The trio's combined experience and absolute unwillingness to accept inferior products is what will continue to make the bakery a success, Linda Yakush said.

"We never, ever, stop trying to make it better."

Ashley Miller can be reached at ashleyo@sequim

A taste of Europe

Pane d'Amore Artisan Bakery, 150 S. Fifth Ave., is open 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Saturday in Sequim.

The Port Townsend branch, 617 Tyler St., is open 8 a.m.-

4 p.m. seven days a week.

Freshly baked products include dozens of varieties and shapes of bread, breakfast pastries, cookies, chocolate stuffed figs, truffles and more.

For more information, call 681-3280.

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