Chris & Amy’s early years of marriage read like a baker’s dream – after Chris left his job at the State Department, the two were married on an island in Amy’s home state of Maine, and then darted off to Paris to study at Le Cordon Bleu and apprentice as traditional French bakers. They returned to Washington, D.C. where Chris continued to work in bakeries around the city before opening Hot Hot Bakery, a mobile food cart bakery, in Arlington, VA. When they started to look for places to raise a family and open the bakery of their dreams, Portland seemed like a natural fit. After years of hard work towards this shared dream, Chris & Amy returned to her hometown to start their new venture together, Belleville.
Set on the top of Munjoy Hill in a well-lit, historic building in Portland’s East End, Belleville is the quintessential neighborhood bakery. In their own words, Chris and Amy describe Belleville as a place that “serves the food we like to eat – what we crave on the weekends and what we search for when we travel to new cities.” In the morning, the Belleville counters are filled with a smattering of rotating French pastries, including all types of sweet and savory croissants, sticky buns, and almond toasts. Slabs of Roman-style pizza (think choices like pickled hot pepper & salami and prosciutto arugula) and various sandwiches are set out a few hours later for the lunch crowd, as are the salted chocolate chip cookies and other sweet treats and breads to take home.
Having treated ourselves to a fair share of the offerings at Belleville, it’s no surprise to us that in the short few months since Chris & Amy opened in late October, the corner bakery has already garnered some well-deserved attention from the staff at Bon Appetit. Like a lot of our favorite restaurants and go-to eateries these days, Chris & Amy utilize their social accounts in the best, most tantalizing of ways. We find ourselves in constant temptation to cross the bridge into town when scrolling through the photos Belleville shares on their Instagram account. If we lived on the peninsula, I have a feeling it would be an everyday struggle not to swing by Belleville for a cup of Tandem coffee and a pain au chocolat in the morning, or a slice of hot pepper & salami pizza in the afternoon.