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French Bakery Opening at the Vineyard in Woodinville

After long delays, Woodinville will get a new French Bakery and coffee house in the Sammamish Valley.

 

There will be more to celebrate on the 4th of July than independence, not that there needs to be more. But it seems fitting that a celebration of the birth of our nation coincides with the opening of a bakery featuring French pastries, after all, France was the one foreign nation that supported us in our struggle for independence.

The French Bakery at the Vineyard is the brainchild of owner LeeAnn Belarde who bought the 5-acre property in the Sammamish Valley with her parents back in 2009.  Belarde’s vision is to turn the property into a destination in the venue in the heart of Woodinville’s Tourist District.

“I want it to be a gathering place for the community,” Belarde said. “Where people come to relax and eat fine food and drink coffee with friends and family.”

That is why she named the property The Vineyard, it will eventually be not only the bakery and coffee house, but a farm stand, boutique gift and wine shop and a garden suitable for weddings and other outdoor events.

Already she has Valley View Farms in Zillah, Wash coming to the farm stand this summer. The stand is at the top of the property near the road, right next to the marquee sign.

“I put on that sign that we would open July 4th even before we had all the approval as a hopeful gesture and it worked,” Belarde said.

She currently has county approval to open her French bakery and coffeehouse, but not to prepare the breads and pastries on the property. The problem is her land, is part of unincorporated King County, and zoned for agricultural use which does not zoned to allow a commercial kitchen. Belarde’s property is part of a controversial request by property owners of plan 17 parcels of land along 140th Place NE to be annexed into the City of Woodinville (.

 Belarde said she did know when she bought the property (her parents are co-owners) that it was in the agricultural zone, but she did not realized the extent of the limitations. Now, she has her baker prepare all the pastries and breads off site in a commercial kitchen she rents. “It’s not the ideal situation, but no matter what happens with the annexation, I can still bring beautiful pastries and wonderful baguettes to Woodinville,” Belarde said.

 This is not the first French bakery Belarde has started. Her first foray into bakery ownerships was in the 1990s when she opened French Pastry in Mercer Island. That led to opening a commercial bakery in Factoria, supplying restaurants in Seattle and on the Eastside with French pastries and bread. In early 2000, she opened Belle Pastry in downtown Bellevue, before returning to her native Alaska to help a friend open a French bakery there.

 “When I came back to help my parents and they showed me this property, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for to create that destination spot that I dreamed about,” Belarde said.

The new bakery is in a small space adjacent to the   office. From the outside, the building looks like its seen better days, despite Belarde’s attempt to beautify the entry with planting boxes of herbs and flowers. Step inside the entrance and the modern, understated décor rivals that of any of the trendy wine tasting rooms in the area.

“There are still a few things that need to come in, a big mirror to bring the outside in and some original artwork,” Belade said. “But I’ve been concentrating on the food and coffee first.”

She will serve Seattle-based Caffe D’arte Italian roasted coffee, the same brand she served at her previous bakeries.

As for the pastries and bread, Balarde is not a baker herself, but is working with someone she has a long history with at her other bakeries.

“I am so excited to be here in Woodinville bringing this bakery to the community, I really want this to be the gathering place,” she said.

The French Bakery at The Vineyard is at 16507 140th Place NE in Woodinville. Balarde plans to open on the July 4th and be open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sharon Peterson June 22, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Wow! Terrific news! Some of my best memories are smelling genuine chocolate croissants in a French bakery in Paris!!! I hope I'll be able to indulge in the same rich scents when I visit this location!
Teresa Nelson June 23, 2012 at 07:45 PM
So happy for you LeeAnn! I cant wait to sample some of your goodies.
Diane Clayton June 24, 2012 at 07:55 PM
I'm thinking those very same restrictions that won't allow a commercial bakery are the same ones that made a 5 acre parcel in the Sammamish Valley affordable to Miss Belarde and her parents! The smell of chocolate croissants, while tempting, is probably not a good enough reason to undo the restrictions that make the valley so appealing to developers like Ms. Belarde.
Sharon Peterson June 25, 2012 at 05:16 PM
I am assuming the bakery is already permitted and already in compliance with existing Woodinville Municipal Code.
John Snow June 25, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Actually, the retail outlet of the bakery lies in unincorporated King County, and the property zoning does not allow an actual commercial bakery on the site, hence the goods being produced off-site. The Woodinville Municipal Code does not apply in this case.
Mike Tanksley June 25, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Diane is correct, yet there is more to it. The ambiance that has Miss Belarde waxing poetically about her business vision would be directly threatened if requests for rezoning in the Valley, such as hers, were to be granted. The Belardes actions have already contributed to the biggest threat to our local farms, the fresh food they provide and the green open space that they anchor, by purchasing their agriculturally zoned property for far more than what an agricultural business can support. If farmers cannot afford the land they need to farm, then the farms die as current farmers retire and sell their land to the highest speculative bidder. If the farms die, the imperative to protect them dies with them. The solution is for our policymakers to stick to the existing zoning, which is working. If speculators such as the Belardes find out that their gambles don't pay off on ag land, they will eventually stop attacking it and our local farms can continue to grow into the future.
Local Guy June 25, 2012 at 08:09 PM
I look forward to pastries and baguettes coming out of this asphalted parking lot in the trailer business site next to the veterinarian's office...
Mike Tanksley June 25, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Half of the 5 acres is still in open ground, fine for crops or animals. The rest would make good outbuildings, barns or perhaps a site for a sorely needed farmers' market, where you could buy your baguettes alongside fresh local produce.
Maegan Harris July 12, 2012 at 03:40 AM
I like the notion behind what she's trying to bring to Valley, but I'm not sure this whole concept was completely thought out. I am a huge fan of french pastries and would just love one being so close to home, but I think I may just stick with traveling to Le Fournil French Bakery on Eastlake in Seattle for my pastry fix. http://www.le-fournil.com
Local Guy July 12, 2012 at 05:23 PM
I don't understand your logic Maegan. Why is traveling all the way to Seattle for a pastry fix for a Woodinville area resident be a better option then buying one locally? And after having had my first test of this place yesterday, quality is not a factor. They are superb and masterfully executed...
Twistedlimbs August 18, 2013 at 06:25 PM
I was really excited to try this place. When my kids and I got there, we had to use the bathroom and wash our hands first. The bathroom was SO DISGUSTING, I couldn't permit my kids to eat there. We left. If they can't clean a bathroom once a day, what other cleanliness are they scrimping on?

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