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Big, sweet dreams

Posted: October 12, 2011 - 12:04am
Rebecca Gaguine, left, owner of  B's Bakery & Bistro, and her front of house manager Johanna Evans remodel a new permanent location on Second Street for her business. Gaguine has been operating a food stand at the corner of Fourth and Main Streets during the summer.  Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Rebecca Gaguine, left, owner of B's Bakery & Bistro, and her front of house manager Johanna Evans remodel a new permanent location on Second Street for her business. Gaguine has been operating a food stand at the corner of Fourth and Main Streets during the summer.

Rebecca (Becca) Gaguine, owner of B’s Bistro and Bakery, and her partner in business, Johanna Evans, both have big personalities and big dreams.

B’s Bistro and Bakery has graduated from the small pink food cart, found in front of the Dimond Courthouse during the summer, to a much larger pink trailer housing a commercial grade kitchen. Evans suggests the two are “doers, more than thinkers” when talking about the expansion of B’s to the trailer and sit down location to be opened in mid-October, less than a year after the idea of B’s was conceived. Gaguine’s whims are golden, it seems, with the purchase of the food cart beginning a bustling business venture, and her purchase of the trailer, both via Craigslist in Portland, Ore., allowing her to turn B’s into a year-round restaurant.

The freshly pink trailer is, according to the previous owner, “good luck,” leading the previous owner and a previous renter to open brick and mortar restaurants after a year or two operating out of the trailer. Gaguine noted she did not immediately see said good luck, as she faced a number of difficulties in transporting the large trailer from Oregon to Alaska, from finding trucks big enough to haul the trailer to losing a wheel on Interstate 5 in the middle of the night and having to call for roadside assistance. Now that the trailer is safely in Juneau, she is all optimism.

Gaguine, a graduate of the Western Culinary Institute, is the head chef, while Evans will handle the flow of the restaurant, boasting years of experience working in the service industry.

Gaguine and Evans both say they see a need for B’s Bistro and Bakery in Juneau. Gaguine provided a history of the term “bistro” as she described her desire to provide meals in a timely manner, an important feature with most lunch breaks lasting an hour or less. She doesn’t plan to sacrifice quality for speed, however.

“A lot of places use canned gravy for biscuits and gravy,” Gaguine said, as Evans nodded her head. “I’ll make mine from scratch.”

Most things on the newly expanded menu will be made from scratch. Gaguine is also excited to carry some locally sourced products like Red Onion loose-leaf teas, which she discovered at Juneau’s summer farmer’s market, or Wild Oven Bread for toast with breakfast or with soup at lunch. The menu features the panini, cupcakes, and cookies offered during the summer, but now includes soups, an expanded selection of baked goods, breakfast scrambles, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, and more.

Gaguine and Evans have great chemistry, talking excitedly about everything from menu items to ruffled aprons, which the two expect to wear daily. The vision for the space is best described as “kitsch,” with refurbished secondhand tables and chairs and a decidedly pink color scheme. Because the chosen location for B’s sit-down spot was originally an office space, the food preparation will take place in the commercial kitchen trailer parked outside, while guests will sit in the converted commercial space at 200 N. Franklin St. The two laugh when they talk about ideas they have had for working with their unique situation, including a suggestion Evans made about using a tin can and twine “phone” to place orders with the kitchen — they settled on walkie-talkies, though some might question the need for a device, as these voices carry.

If you are looking for quiet, you might be startled to find that B’s is likely not the place for it. Both Gaguine and Evans are actors as well as businesswomen. The two sent in an audition tape to “Cupcake Wars,” a Food Network show. Even if they are accepted, the timing may not work out, as Gaguine will be performing in a local production during the filming of the next season.

Gaguine explained that, despite the potential boost to business, she would keep her commitment with the local theatre troupe.

“I made a commitment and I’ll stick to it,” she said. Further community involvement is to be expected, as the pair intends to host art shows featuring local artists, keeping B’s open late for First Friday gallery walks.

If B’s Bistro and Bakery sounds like a treat, mark your calendars for a mid-October open date for the new sit-down location across the street from the Capital City Weekly.

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