Head baker Aaron Marshak recently relocated to Philadelphia from DC in order to run the new operations. He’ll operate the behemoth bread oven, which weighs around 8,000 lbs. It’s a cervap oven from French company Bongard, made with reflective poured concrete slabs that mimic a brick-oven environment, and it can bake between 50-100 loaves at a time with temperatures that reach 550°F.
The loaves are available for sale at the counter-service front of the store, and also used for the tartines and sandwiches at the sit-down tables. The oven is being installed right behind the seating area, in fact, and as soon as it’s ready, the antique barn doors will be replaced with antique glass doors, so you can see directly into the bakery as you dine.
Once everything is running smoothly, look for baking classes to be introduced, says cafe manager Andrew Malandro. Malandro has been overseeing the oven’s piece-by-piece installation - earlier this week, a piece weighing 1,500 lbs. was delivered and took two hours to get from entrance to the back of the store.
Does the installation of the oven and the relocation of a head baker signal further expansion for LPQ? No one’s telling, yet, but all signs point to a positive future for the Belgian import in Philadelphia.