Thursday, 09 May 2024 12:32

From the Catskills to Saratoga: Bakery Suzanne Opens Up Shop

Items baked by Wilson Keenan at Bakery Suzanne, a new shop in Saratoga Springs. Photos provided by Wilson Keenan. Items baked by Wilson Keenan at Bakery Suzanne, a new shop in Saratoga Springs. Photos provided by Wilson Keenan.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — “I love just being able to make people’s toast,” said Wilson Keenan as he sat inside his new bakery in Saratoga Springs. “If you had to tell me, ‘you can only make one thing,’ I’d probably make bread.”

The seemingly simple ambition of supplying Saratogians with their weekly loaf of bread has been an all-encompassing task for Keenan, who has gone through a lot while moving his successful bakery from the Catskills to Saratoga Springs. Working 18-hour days, raising $125,000, spending savings accrued from nearly a decade of working in tech; these are all steps on Keenan’s path towards making people’s toast. And with the opening of Bakery Suzanne in April, Keenan is another step closer.

“I knew I needed to move if [my bakery] was going to grow,” Keenan said. So the baker began searching for a larger market that was still within a few hours of New York City. 

“When you look outside of the Catskills, you start to look at maybe Woodstock, Kingston, Hudson; these towns that still rely pretty heavily on seasonal people and weekenders. That wasn’t as exciting to me because I was like, well that’s just an order of magnitude, maybe 40% better than where I was, but it’s not really long-term potential.”

Keenan found what he’d been looking for in Saratoga Springs, in a location that might seem a bit unorthodox but made logistical sense: the Saratoga Motorcycle Center.

“Auto garages make the most sense because we need to be able to move in ovens,” Keenan said. “We brought them up from the Catskills and there’s only so many spaces where you can move something like that in.”

As Keenan opened up shop, construction was still underway inside the garage-turned-bakery, and sparse shelves in the retail area were quickly being filled with Saratoga’s signature blue sparkling water bottles. At the moment, Keenan is running a relatively small operation that includes himself, one other baker, and two people working the retail counter. Keenan said he hoped to have another full-time baker come June or July as his business continues to grow.

“In the Catskills, I was making 400 loaves of bread when I left,” Keenan said. “It would take me quite a long time to sell 400 loaves of bread here, now. But fast forward a year or two, that will happen.”

Bakery Suzanne, named after Keenan’s mother, specializes in sourdough bread and pastries. The menu includes country loaf, baguette, and southern sesame breads; as well as croissants, pain au chocolat, canelé, and a country ham and cheese sandwich, among other items. 

The shop is housed in the former location of the Saratoga Motorcycle Club at 4284 NY-50, right next to the X-Files Museum. It’s currently open Friday through Sunday, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. 

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