Local business brings artisanal flavors home
Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 21, 2013 01:03
From a downtown, upscale restaurant to a country-style artisan bread bakery, Bill Oblock has been in the Logan food scene for more than 15 years.
Oblock, along with his wife Diane, started Crumb Brothers Artisan Bread 11 years ago. While the bread itself is unique, the couple has also aimed to make the architecture of bakery stand out. The cabin-like building is eco-friendly.
“It is the first commercial structure in Logan, Utah, to use geothermal heat sources to conserve our marketed energy,” Oblock said. “Passive solar in our construction further offsets the energy load of running this business.”
Haylee Johnson, a freshman majoring in deaf education, loves the structure of the building and the food quality as well.
“The building is very eco-friendly and pretty,” Johnson said. “I actually took my high school senior pictures there. It sounds really weird, but no one would ever know. Their bread is absolutely delicious.”
Oblock has always enjoyed cooking. After attending Utah State and majoring in bioecology, he realized cooking school was a better fit for his future desires.
“After I got my degree I realized that it wasn’t really for me. Although all of my friends were well on their way exiting the biology program, I was trying to find the area I had the skills in,” Oblock said. “I grew up with cooking, had a good sense for it and decided to go to cooking school out of Salt Lake City. I received both hands on and technical training during this three year period.”
Life’s circumstances brought Oblock to Logan after he graduated from cooking school.
“The woman I had been dating and later married had a business in town, so the obvious choice was for me to move up to Logan,” Oblock said. “The cooking education I was given engaged me to open up a smaller, upscale restaurant. It was perfect because there was nothing in Logan that had the tablecloth service.”
Oblock was initially struggling to find a job, so he decided to find a building to buy and open up a restaurant.
“Lucky enough there was a building right across the street from her bookstore business, and that is when the Grapevine took off,” he said.
As time went on, his family was growing and the business was interfering with raising children. This is when the thought of bringing an artisan bakery to Logan was sparked.
“The Grapevine had been around for about 10 years and trying to raise a family while managing the local business was becoming a problem, so our plan was to do something else,” Oblock said. “I had heard about this kind of phenomenon going around on the coasts of baking with traditional bread starters. I started reading up on it.”
Oblock had a few ideas for new ventures, but he wanted something that would challenge him.
“I had the motive of if I were going to do something else, I was going to do something that required a lot of organization and skills, something interesting,” Oblock said. “Opening a donut shop sounds like a great idea, too simple for what I wanted. I needed something that would keep my mind engaged and interested.”
Jillian Fox, a senior majoring in dietetics, is on the retail staff at Crumb Brothers and has worked at the bakery for two years.
“My job is awesome because I am helping people with their desires, making sandwiches and salads,” Fox said. “I love the food I get to eat here. Honestly, the best things I have eaten in my whole entire life have been here.”
The bread made at the bakery is on a tight schedule and the staff is watched to make sure the correct steps are being executed effectively.
“Our bread takes a lot more labor and continuous tending, but it pays off for the high quality taste,” Oblock said. “Making the bread here daily is like tending a child — the more care you give it, the better it will be.”
The different breads and pastries are made in such unique manners that they tend to cost more money, but consumers are appreciative of how it is made because they may have tasted something similar in another part of the world, Oblock said.
“It could be anyone from a military personnel having it overseas or just in a different state, a return missionary who went to somewhere like Argentina and fell in love with it. The bread has become a social medium type of food,” Oblock said.