Jason Provo, owner of Blackhole Bakery in Kansas City, Missouri, took a big leap in the early months of the pandemic. During the spring of 2020, Provo decided to go ahead with plans to open his pastry-inspired bakery despite facing a city-wide shutdown.
To paraphrase Provo, he and his staff didn’t have to adapt to COVID-19, as the business was born during it.
“We opened April 1st of 2020, right after the first shutdown,” he says. “We got rid of our tables and pared down our menu, weeks before opening. We honestly were concerned that we would remain a staff of three, for a year or more. Nervous that the pandemic would keep us under the radar for an extended period of time. We’ve never known Blackhole Bakery without COVID.”
Thanks to the support of friends and family, as well as the hype around being a new bakery near the city’s two biggest universities, Blackhole Bakery debuted to long lines. Word quickly spread about the bakery’s top-notch pastries. Some of its more popular items are the mochi donuts, which are made with a sticky rice flour, as well as its cinnamon rolls and croissants.
Provo and his staff put special care into their croissants, thanks to his background in breakfast pastry and a desire to build up the city’s baking scene. Just like with all of his pastries, ingredients are key to croissant success.
“Good ingredients are always important, but I would say that time and technique are most important,” Provo says. “Time, in that it’s about a four-day process. That amount of time allows for proper fermentation as well as giving time for the dough to relax after all the turmoil we put it through. Proper technique is needed to ensure the layers in the dough are developed. Understanding the dough, air quality and temperature are super important.”
Most of the bakery’s standard croissant flavors are fairly traditional (including chocolate, almond, and ham & Gruyere), but its “special” flavors are typically born out of food cravings of a particular day, Provo says. One day they were craving tacos, so they came up with a carnitas croissant. Another day’s craving for biscuits and gravy led to a B&G flavor. Some flavors are created purely for shock value but then end up sticking around because of their popularity with the staff and customers.
Provo has stated that he wants to make a big splash in the breakfast pastry realm. Judging by the bakery’s online search rankings in the city, he has achieved a lot in a relatively short amount of time.