Is there anything more evocative than the smell of fresh pastries and coffee in the morning? The staff over at Waterhouse Baker’s Station, on Depot Square in Peterborough, seem to feel that this is the ideal way to start your day. Since June of 2016, they have been offering homemade bagels and sandwiches, along with fresh bread and coffee.
Additionally, cake decorator Amy Niles, who was profiled in Monadnock Table’s May/June issue, is on hand, creating her impressive wedding and special occasion cakes. The facility also turns out a wide selection of gluten- and grain-free products, as well as gourmet coffees. Customers have the option to dine inside or take advantage of their outdoor patio.
“I’ve been in the food industry pretty much my entire life,” says Keith Herrick, executive chef and general manager. “I have degrees in education and psychology, which, obviously, I haven’t done a lot with. I worked in restaurants all through my college years and stuck with it after I graduated. I had a restaurant on Cape Cod for a while, called the Crow’s Nest, and also was the executive chef at the Antrim Inn for a few years.”
Attached to the Waterhouse Restaurant, which Herrick also manages, Baker’s Station presently employs three bakers and two counter staff, all of whom are kept busy keeping up with the needs of the hungry diners.
“We make all of our breads and bagels from scratch,” Herrick says. “We proof the bagel batter, boil them and then bake them. One of our best-sellers is a jalapeno Swiss, followed by pesto fig and rosemary onion-garlic. Every now and then, we’ll throw in a spinach feta or a cinnamon crunch.”
All of these bagels form the basis of the store’s extensive sandwich menu, which runs from the basic, with egg and cheddar cheese, or standard, which includes bacon or sausage patty. Veggie lovers can order the Caprese, which includes egg, tomato, pesto and mozzarella, or the veggie, with tomato, avocado and cheddar cheese.
“Our house bagel features green onion, bacon cream cheese spread, with a choice of bacon or sausage, sliced avocado and tomato,” Herrick says. “We have a house mustard which goes onto every bagel unless otherwise requested. It really elevates the flavor of every bagel.”
Herrick says that there is a woman who drives all the way from Keene every morning specifically for this bagel.
“She just gets the bagel, and then drives right back home,” he says. “She describes them, in her own words, as being ‘epic.’ ” “Herrick says there are plans to expand on this side of the business, introducing sandwiches featuring chicken salad, tuna salad and smoked salmon.
Baker’s Station is proud to support area farms, sourcing many of their ingredients from these establishments, such as Miner Family Farm in Merrimack, Amazing Flower Farm in New Ipswich, Rosaly’s Garden and Fry Family Farm in Peterborough, Farmer John’s Plot in Dublin, Bethel Farm in Hillsboro, Aucoin Farm in Henniker and Meka Farms in Hancock.
In addition to the bagels and breads, the store also offers a wide variety of sweet pastries, muffins, cookies and other treats.
“On the sweet side, our biggest sellers are the maple bacon cinnamon rolls, which we serve every Saturday,” he says. “Usually, we have a big line for those. We also have blueberry muffins, which are like no other, just loaded with blueberries. Then there are the gluten-free scones, which everybody seems to love, whether they have a gluten sensitivity or not, as they just like the texture and the taste. We carry a large selection of dessert bars, gluten-free or otherwise, as well as brownies, which are fudgy and just delicious.”
Of course, with all of these great breads and desserts, really good coffee is essential to wash them down and the store doesn’t scrimp there, either. They offer imported roasts from Good Beans coffee in Oregon, as well as Parker House Coffee, a local specialty.
Herrick says that the Waterhouse Restaurant itself is being run by Dan Beard, a chef who has been working at the site before this restaurant even opened.
“We put out some amazing food,” he says. “We have farmers bringing in produce all summer long. We have our own farm, the Fry Family Farm, right here in Peterborough, where we get all of our organic eggs, as well as meat. Right now, we’re planning on planting massive gardens there, which will be exclusively producing vegetables for our restaurant. Our goal really is to have our own source for all our food.”
Although he is presently concentrating on baking, Herrick says he is comfortable in all forms of culinary creation.
“I like all aspects of cooking, from savory to sweet,” he says. “This is a really cool place, and you’ll find food here that you won’t get anywhere else.”
Eric Stanway writes from Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire.