Aesthetics are the compass at Persephone Bakery’s new boulangerie and cafe. In every direction, visitors can find an artistic moment.
Distinctly different for Jackson, Persephone is attuned to art and light, much like a museum or gallery would be. The vision for the café rose from co-owner Ali Cohane’s background in art and design. With her art history degree from Colorado College, Ali worked at Tayloe Piggott Gallery for five years before moving to Paris with her then-boyfriend, Kevin, so that he could study breadmaking at Le Cordon Bleu. The pair then migrated back stateside to Ali’s native Chicago, where she earned a degree in graphic design from Columbia College of the Arts. When Kevin opened Persephone Bakery two summers ago, Ali began to dream of creating a café to complement his baked art.
To realize her dream, Ali turned to local talents. Architects Nona Yehia and Abby Filanowski of E/Ye Design transformed the interior into an open, airy space. Creative consultants Christian Burch and John Frechette helped Ali find the vintage and industrial pieces that give the café its eclectic personality. And Ali filled in the rest; she combed through catalogues, browsed endlessly online, and traveled to city fairs and markets. Even her closest friends failed to fathom the fullness of her concept.
Now, with Persephone Café nearly two months old, the creativity it took to transform the space is experienced daily by the droves who queue for a cinnamon brioche or a truffle prosciutto baguette.
So without further ado, a tour of vignettes within Persephone, details that become all the more enchanting when Ali shares the stories behind them:
Look left, look right, find art at Persephone Bakery’s new boulangerie and café.
Ali has long loved “Butter,” an early painting by local artist Mike Piggott, whom she met while working at Tayloe Piggott Gallery. When she and Kevin opened their commercial bakery two years ago, they wanted to commission Mike to paint a pat of butter on their delivery van, but the budget wouldn’t allow for the art insignia. Coming full circle, the original “Butter” now hangs inside the café foyer. Ali considers the painting the “patron saint of the bakery.”
Ali originally conceived of the “spoon wall” as an installation of antique wooden spoons. After scouring a Salt Lake flea market and coming up with only several (spendy) spoons, she shifted her concept to rolling pins. But after collecting a slew of them from different stalls, she found the pins lacking (returning them to their respective roosts proved challenging). A line of new, slender spoons saved the day as did art installers Spencer Rank and Andy Kincaid, who figured out the mechanics of affixing the grid.
Waiting becomes witty outside the restroom. A vintage typewriter, found in Salt Lake City, invites people to pen musings and pin them to the muslin bulletin board. Gems include “single male looking for nice no nonsense wife for the sea son (sic)” and “persephone is bringing my life to a fuller place – my pants don’t fit.”
A vintage mirror – topped by an antique German mount Ali found on Etsy.com – gives a glimpse of the restroom’s immaculate interior. Hand-printed woods wallpaper by Cole & Sons of London serves as the backdrop for a vintage lawyer’s cabinet, now housing rolls of toilet paper. An Ali-designed decal of a moustache and bouffant gesture at the unisex orientation of the facility (the bouffant will soon sport a bow, to clear up confusion).
A Salt Lake City artist, whom Ali met through MADE, built the custom tables and benches from wood reclaimed from an old bridge spanning the Great Salt Lake. The Salt-Lake soaked slats were weathered in the desert for a year before becoming the rustic seating at Persephone. The same source found the collection of vintage industrial stools.
Pops of color pepper Persephone’s muted palette, like the crimson Intelligentsia coffee bags stacked inside the front counter cubby. Vintage pendants, sourced by MADE, hang above the cake stands piled high with viennoiserie. On the bottom shelf sits onyx teapots by Heath Ceramics, the seminal mid-century ceramics maker in San Francisco. In the foreground, the wood and vegetable-tanned leather stools are by Lostine, a furniture and design company based in Philadelphia, PA.
The artful arrangement of retail goods and coffee fixings. Color blocked cutting boards by Lostine neighbors “Flour Water Salt Yeast,” a home baker’s guide to artisanal bread-making. Fittingly, a Mike Piggott cappuccino presides over it all.