Owner/Operator of Baked In Telluride
“We’re proud of what we’re doing ... we put our heart in it.”
NO ONE WAS HARMED in the fire that razed Baked In Telluride in February of 2010, but people still lamented the loss of their “loved ones.” The bagels, the pizza, the M&M cookies, the macaroons, the tacos, the donuts with sprinkles and other favorites were among the casualties, and a collective cry went up from fans of the bakery asking owner Jerry Greene to rebuild. In its absence, the bakery’s loyal customers realized how important the iconic, decades-old business had become. “It was like attending my own funeral,” says Greene, shaking his head. “I got condolences—and suggestions—all day long.” A neighborhood bakery such as B.I.T. is a community institution, explains Greene, and no one was about to let this one go up in smoke. At the insistence of his clientele, the building rose again, a phoenix from the ashes, in just 15 months. “Take the insurance money and run? I didn’t see that as an option. I had an obligation to my employees and my customers. The people who were most affected were the kids—there was something both heartbreaking and heartwarming in how much it affected the kids.” The rebuilt bakery has a familiar façade, but the interior is more airy and modern, with high ceilings, an open kitchen and a tall, glass pastry case acting as the centerpiece of the dining area. Patrons walk slowly around the case, eyes wide with anticipation. “Mom!” cries one happy child, pointing to the coconut glazed donut in the bottom corner. “Please?” It is the after-school rush, and the bakery is flooded with parents and kids. Even the artwork on the walls includes broad, colorful paintings by the children in Telluride who have toured the bakery with their classes or who frequent the two-for-one donut special after 2 p.m. There is a warm, content feeling that permeates the building that is not just created by the giant, steel ovens. When Greene first came to Telluride in 1975 it was to build another community institution, the local radio station KOTO. Greene was an engineering/psychology graduate from Cornell University who spent much of his college career in the student radio station, but when he came to Telluride, he realized he would not be able to support himself solely by working in community radio. He decided what the town needed was a good bakery. He was not a chef, but something about the formulaic nature of baking appealed to his scientific mind. The idea of a neighborhood bakery appealed to Greene’s civic nature; he is active in town government, and served on council and on various committees and boards. He is still Telluride’s elected Town Meeting Moderator. Greene lectures at the school, donates baked goods and food to various nonprofit events and sponsors an annual footrace, the 13-mile, high-elevation Sneffels Highline Run. (Greene is a distance runner himself, and has completed the Imogene Pass Race a notable 27 times.) He is a beloved local employer who has sponsored his employees in their athletic endeavors and helped integrate the local Latino community. His social outreach is just one ingredient in his recipe for a successful business. “We’re proud of what we’re doing and we put our heart in it. My business model is that I want to see my customers every day. The bakery is a part of people’s life.” 800.525.3455
Dining & Nightlife There are dozens of places to dine out or go for a drink in the area, from simple to stupendous. Local restaurateurs are increasingly trying to find local, organic and sustainable food sources. Some of the beef, lamb, poultry, fish and game you order from the menus comes from nearby ranches in the foothills of the San Juans. Much of the fresh produce is grown locally and organically. The mushrooms from a dish might even be handpicked by your chef on a foray into the mountains. For a complete listing of all the local establishments and what type of fare is offered, see pages 52-53 or VisitTelluride.com.
A resource for visitors to Telluride and Mountain Village, Colorado.