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Houston's Top Bakery

America's best bakery is close to opening in Houston: Are you ready for a cronut-like craze?

Common Bond kugelhopfs
These are not the kugelhopfs I sampled, but the one I ate looked like them. Photo by © Debora Smail
Common Bond bakery sign
Common Bond will open in mid-May. Photo by Eric Sandler
Common Bond croissant
Will it be the summer of Common Bond croissants? Common Bond/Facebook
Common Bond bakery Roy Shvartzapel head chef
Pastry chef Roy Shvartzapel has brought together some top talent for Common Bond.  Photo by © Debora Smail
Common Bond kugelhopfs
Common Bond bakery sign
Common Bond croissant
Common Bond bakery Roy Shvartzapel head chef

Common Bond is coming. Anticipation for the bakery/cafe has remained high ever since pastry chef Roy Shvartzapel first revealed his plans to build what he calls "the best bakery in America" at the corner of Dunlavy and Westheimer.

In August, Shvartzapel told CultureMap he hoped to be open by Thanksgiving, but that didn't happen. Now his business partner Brad Sanders says they're shooting for mid-May with the week after Mother's Day the most likely target. That seems likely, as the build-out is mostly complete and the staff has begun to work in the space.

 The team is working 15 hours days, testing recipes and refining their processes. They want to be ready when the masses show up for that first croissant.  

Meanwhile, the restaurant has started to supplement the talented team who moved to Houston to open Common Bond with young chefs who've been plucked from well-known spots like The Pass & Provisions, Blacksmith and Cloud 10 Creamery. None of the new hires are ready to speak on the record about their decisions, but the opportunity to work with Shvartzapel and his colleagues, all of whom moved to Houston after stints at Michelin starred restaurants, has proven too tempting to resist. 

Shvartzapel says he's looking forward to the day when they can peel down the paper that covers Common Bond's windows and show people what they've created. In the meantime, the team is working 15-hour days, testing recipes and refining their processes. They want to be ready when the masses show up for that first croissant.

As I started to leave, Shvartzapel told me to wait. "You like doughnuts, don't you?" he said as he handed me a Kugelhopf. I reached for my phone. "No pictures. No Facebook," he barked. In the absence of a picture, I can report that it was light and airy, with a sweetness balanced by orange peel in the dough.

Other than at one of Rebecca Masson's pop-ups, I can't remember seeing one in Houston before.

Last summer New Yorkers spent hours in line for cronuts. Will Common Bond cause a similar frenzy in Houston?

After one pastry, I wouldn't be surprised. 

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