I think anyone would agree that it's more than ballsy to open a bakery/coffee shop right across the street from a Stumptown cafe, with their skilled barista count and critically lauded pastries from Little T American Baker. Which is why I really wanted to like Blue Collar Baking Company, with their great design concept and rustic roots. Serving up primarily old-school cookies and bundt cakes in an open space with a surplus of vintage thermoses and lunchboxes, fare at Blue Collar is just like your mother used to make. For anyone who doesn't have access to Mom's cookies these days or can't bake to save their lives, Blue Collar could be the answer to your old-school sweet tooth. Most people I know do or can, which is why this new bakery is no culinary revelation in my world—but it may be in yours.
Owner and baker Warren Becker keeps it simple and true to his blue collar (surprise!) roots in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He started as a wholesale operation and opened the retail cafe just over a month ago in the Embassy Suites. Also serving Water Avenue Coffee and a simple lunch menu, the space is clean, open, and welcoming. I've tried the Working Class Stiff (a layered bar cookie with oats, chocolate, and walnuts), the Lunch Whistle (a cranberry-orange cookie with white chocolate), and the Gearbox (banana bundt cake with chocolate chips). The consistency is there, flavors are appropriately balanced—I prefer a little more subtlety in desserts and less reliance on standard sweet flavors, but I can see the appeal of this brand of comfort food. I sincerely hope they can compete with surrounding sweet offerings from the like of Stumptown and Voodoo Doughnuts.