Every other week, we'll be bringing you videos that take a behind-the-scenes look at restaurants, breweries, marketplaces, bars and any other spots that define Houston food and drink. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.
There are always great smells coming out of the old Oriental Textile Mill, an historic building that now houses Kraftsmen Baking and Kraftsmen Cafe. The tall brick structure with the clock tower on top was built in 1894, and has been used as a mill, a mattress factory and a Venetian blind manufacturing plant before Kraftsmen Baking took over the space.
Today, operations at the bakery run day and night. The lights are always on, and there are always people inside the space, kneading dough, baking bread, packaging rolls or loading boxes of goodies on to truck to be transported across Houston and as far away as Austin.
Kraftsmen Baking was started by Scott Tycer in 2001, after he made a name for himself in Houston with a number of other restaurants in Houston, including Textile (in the space that now houses Kraftsmen Cafe), Aries (closed in 2006) and Gravitas (in the space that now houses The Pass & Provisions). The cafe opened in 2010, serving baked goods from the massive operation attached to it and comfort food like sandwiches and American breakfast staples.
Impressive as Kraftsmen Cafe is for its easy, comfortable charm, the bakery is even more so. Wander through a maze of racks of cooling rolls, croissants and baguettes into various side rooms, each with their own purpose. Some are reserved for wrapping and packaging. Others contain large mixers and tabled for hand-kneeding dough. There are huge industrial ovens and various machines, and everywhere people scurrying about hard at work before the next shift comes in.
Because it operates 24/7, there are always people in Kraftsmen Baking, always cars coming and going, always music playing to cut through the industrial sounds of the bakery. It's like a living organism, and it is, undoubtedly, Tycer's most impressive undertaking.
Find out more about Tycer and his wholesale baking operation in the video.