Everyone has their own favorite hometown bakery. Mine is 1900 Barker in Lawrence, Kansas, where I lived much of my adult life raising my daughter.

“Our location was once home to an abandoned laundromat which in 2015, after a year of extensive renovations, opened its doors as the neighborhood corner stone. At first, we were only two brothers; Taylor and Reagan Petrehn. Taylor, 23 years old, was our baker and Reagan, 21, our coffee guy. Together, they built what is now 1900 Barker - Bakery and Café.”

Taylor Petrehn, a James Beard Award Outstanding Baker nominee in 2017, is part of a growing number of young artisan bakers in America. He gained an early appreciation for great food working as a pastry chef for Kansas City’s acclaimed Parisi Coffee. Also, one of his key mentors was the executive pastry chef at Dean & DeLuca, where he worked for six years. Through these positions, he developed his keen palate.

Two favorites here are the Cinnamon Morning Bun, “all butter croissant dough meets sugar, cinnamon and orange zest,” and the Twice Baked Almond Frangipane Croissant, an all-butter croissant baked twice with an almond frangipane cream filling.

“Having strong opinions has led me to be a better baker,” he once told me. “That has helped me consciously improve my palate. When I taste a croissant, I’m always thinking about what it needs. Dissecting the crust and the crumb and thinking about the hydration. I wouldn’t say I am a flavor genius, but hopefully maybe I will be someday.”

Petrhen hopes that the local grain movement will help more and more consumers appreciate the great flavor of breads and value the contributions of the artisan bread community.