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Crust Bakeshop refurbishes Main St. location with ‘cozy’ vibe, new design

Crust Bakeshop at 118 Main St. in Worcester has been completely renovated with a new design and décor.

Crust Bakeshop, a Worcester bakery and coffee shop that’s been a mainstay on Main Street for the past decade, recently refurbished its downtown location — adding fresh pops of color, expanded seating and other perks meant to open and enliven the space for more customers to enjoy.

The roughly 2-month springtime renovation came as a result of reorienting the function of the 118 Main Street shop, owner Alexis Kelleher told MassLive.

The counter and a glass case holding breads and pastries at Crust Bakeshop.

The back of the house previously dominated Crust’s floor space, but the business was outgrowing what its kitchen could offer in terms of output, Kelleher said.

Kelleher, who co-owns BirchTree Bread Company in the Canal District with her husband Nate Rossi, used to split baking between the kitchens at BirchTree and Crust’s Main Street shop. Seeking to consolidate, the couple shifted all of the baking to BirchTree — which they took ownership of almost exactly two years ago.

Without a functioning kitchen, the Main Street shop felt more “empty and quiet,” Kelleher said, noting the absence of the wafting smell of freshly baked goods and the hum of the kitchen.

At the start of March, Crust began an extensive renovation that includes built-in seating, tables and chairs placed in spots where bulky refrigerators, ovens and bins once stood.

Now, in an open-concept environment, guests can order at the counter and tuck into side benches with stools, round café tables with cushioned booth seating or a plush pink armchair with a side table for sipping drinks or snacking on pastries and sandwiches.

The expanded seating brought in more customers, Kelleher said, from places such as Worcester District Court, the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) and Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) who come in to refuel, chat or study.

One of Kelleher’s goals is to promote Crust’s Main Street shop as a rentable private events space given its new reconfiguration. Food would be supplied from BirchTree’s kitchen and she said the business could get 1-day liquor licenses to accommodate these events.

She envisions parties such as bridal and baby showers coming in and that the space can fit around 20-25 people. Those interested can contact Crust on its website.

The shop renovations, which underwent its final inspection from the city on Tuesday, are nearly complete. Kelleher said she and her husband are putting the finishing touches on design choices.

The space features a “perky peach” accent wall, accompanied by pale tones of greens, blues and yellows throughout.

Kelleher said it’s a “big departure” from the original color scheme when the walls were shades of “mustard yellow and brown.” The new color scheme adds a degree of brightness to what used to be a darker space, she added.

Now, floral patterns appear on pillowcases and framed wall art, plastic plants adorn nooks and crannies and chandelier light fixtures hang above. Kelleher saidbthe floors were also redone, replacing a stick-on checkered tile with dark brown hardwood.

The space is more climate-controlled than before, according to Kelleher, thanks to the addition of air conditioning and the removal of the ovens, which burned at hundreds of degrees Fahrenheit and would be stiflingly hot in the warmer months, she said.

A gender-neutral bathroom is now open to customers in the back of the shop, which was previously open to staff only. All that remains of the once-existent kitchen is a dishwashing room for clean-up purposes.

“It’s really kind of amazing,” Kelleher said of how much has changed. “I’ve been working in the space now for 10 years. This is where I started working at Crust before I bought it. We did a renovation a few years after I bought it. There’ve been changes, but I think this is the biggest one.”

“I feel like this is kind of always how I wanted this space,” she said. “To kind of be this level of welcoming and cozy and beautiful.”

The shop on Main Street carries much sentimental value for Kelleher. She met her husband there, and it was the spot of her first job out of college culinary school.

During the renovation, Kelleher said, there were “blips” of disruption to business, but Crust had budgeted ahead and it was able to absorb these costs while largely staying open.

Nevertheless, Kelleher spoke of a “resilience” she and the shop have built up over the years in the face of prior “obstacles” such as COVID, interruptions from road repairs and balancing baking and serving customers simultaneously with once limited staff.

Since promoting the renovation online, she’s already noticed a steady uptick in sales as a result, on top of a busy and fruitful Mother’s Day weekend.

“It’s really encouraging to see that people are excited about (the renovation),” Kelleher said. “To see that it makes other people so happy is like pretty awesome.”

The bakery and coffee shop has a secondary Worcester location at 1 West Boylston St., which opened in 2020. Both locations feature a menu full of pastries, breads, sandwiches, desserts, coffees and teas, in addition to rotating seasonal coffee and drink menus.

The Main Street shop is open six days a week Tuesday through Sunday, but Kelleher plans to expand this to seven days a week in June with a consistent schedule of 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Crust Bakeshop at Main Street’s is currently open from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. Tuesday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday.


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