DOVER – City native Rebekah Krieger has returned home after culinary stints in California and Massachusetts and will soon be opening French-inspired Two Bees Café + Patisserie on the Cocheco River.
A dream comes true for the trained confectioner.
“It’s going to be very cook-centric and I plan on being very hands-on there all the time,” Krieger said. “I hope that’s something that can be translated and that can make a difference. There is a lot of passion and experience behind it and we want to bring out the highest quality products.”
The path of the University of New Hampshire graduate, whose store is slated to open at 100 First St. in mid-December, has been anything but straightforward. In fact, Krieger left an early career in the local hospitality industry to pursue a different career path, but returned to the food and beverage scene soon after.
How did Krieger end up in the hospitality industry?
While pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration in Durham, Krieger worked at Me and Ollie’s in Portsmouth. After graduating, she worked as a bartender in Portsmouth and was lured into the restaurant industry by a friend who worked as a bartender and barista.
After a few years, she gave up and moved to California to begin a master’s degree in education. But as she moved west, she found a burgeoning restaurant scene that caught her attention and inspired her to shift her focus.
“I experienced this whole new world of food,” she said. “That really got me hooked.”
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Krieger enrolled in culinary school, where she met her husband, who was originally from Los Angeles, and began envisioning the goal of one day opening a coffee shop. Krieger fantasized about her future business, created a menu and planned to name the café Provisions, although she eventually scraped this after watching numerous other shops with the same name.
The decision to name her shop Two Bees was inspired by a shop that Krieger and her mother found on a trip to Paris that bore the same name but in French.
“It’s been my dream for the past 10 years,” she said.
Krieger worked in a few restaurants in San Francisco but longed to return closer to home.
“My family lives here on the east coast. I always had the intention of moving back home. It was something I knew I always wanted to do,” she said.
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Though she wasn’t married as of 2019, she and her current husband moved to the Boston area, where Krieger worked as a pastry chef at a few restaurants. Over time the pair moved back to Krieger’s hometown of Dover where they now raise their two young sons – a 2½ year old and a 10 month old.
Supply chain delays caused by the pandemic have slowed the opening process, but the finish line is in sight.
“We’ve been around for about three years trying to achieve this,” she said. “Fortunately, this space that we are going to was available and we were able to hold it despite all these delays.”
Pastries, Quiche, Sandwiches, More: What Two Bees Serves
The interior of Two Bees, which will seat about 25 and have a large, seasonal outdoor patio, will have a “botanical theme” with green walls and a green counter, plants, and framed artwork, Krieger said.
In the future, Krieger would like to work with local artists and showcase some of their creations at her company.
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“I hope it’s the kind of place that feels natural and that people say, ‘Oh wow, that’s great. I want to hang out here,'” she said.
The cafe’s menu will feature a range of baked goods such as kouign-amann, biscuits, scones, brioche buns, croissants and cinnamon rolls. Two Bees also have quiches and sandwiches — including one with roast beef, agrodolce peppers, roasted red onions, greens, garlic aioli and spicy herb oil on a brioche bun — in addition to parfait, tartines, snack platters, and charcuterie and cheese boards with homemade crackers , various types of bread, spiced nuts, fresh fruit and truffle honey.
Krieger hopes to be able to bake bread in the future, although the cafe’s kitchen area doesn’t currently allow it. For now, the bread her shop serves will come from Iggy’s Bread in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“We plan to change our menu with the seasons and will try to use local farms for local produce,” she said.
Two bees, which Krieger will provide for private events and parties for more than 50 people, are expected to open to the public in the third week of December.