Like so many people, the pandemic changed everything for Chefs Alen Ramos and Carolyn Nugent. The classically trained pastry chefs had spent more than a decade building their careers, working in some of the finest restaurants in the world. In March 2020, they happened to be in Chicago.
“We were both furloughed and our son’s school closed,” Carolyn says. “And we thought, ‘Okay, we haven’t had a vacation in forever, we'll take three weeks off, we'll just relax and we'll have a chance to breathe, maybe clean the house,” Of course, the pandemic raged on. “We were really dipping into our savings to pay our rent, there was no rent relief, and the crime rate in Chicago was on the rise.” The married couple who had been living and working in the great city centers of the world decided to make a change.
Alen's parents had retired in Parker and encouraged the couple to give suburban life a try. “There was no end in sight for the pandemic and we didn’t know what would happen next, so loaded up our stuff and drove here,” Carolyn says. “We had never moved without having a job; we didn't know what we were doing.” Two weeks after arriving in Colorado, Alen and Carolyn opened a pop-up bakery out of their townhouse kitchen window.
That was in December 2020. By the following March, the traffic into their community became a bit too much for the neighbors and they were asked to stop selling out of their home.
But everything worked out in the end—for both the couple and the customers who love their pastries. In October 2021, Alen and Carolyn opened Poulette Bake Shop.
Specializing in “Americana with a European influence,” patrons of Poulette enjoy sweet delicacies—some with unfamiliar, exotic names like Ducasse cakes and Gianduja macarons, but also well-known favorites like almond croissants and lemon meringue pie.
The award-winning bake shop is located on Hess Road in Parker. Open from 8:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. (or until they’ve sold out) Wednesday through Saturday, Poulette has become part of the community—which is exactly what Alen and Carolyn wanted.
“It’s such a joy to see people become friends as they wait in line early in the morning to get their breakfast pastries,” Carolyn says.
And the chefs strive for interaction with their customers, too. “We don’t have signs in the display case that name the pastries, which opens a dialog with our guests as they ask what’s what. It's so wonderful to be able to share the history and culture of the pastries we make.”
“We are privileged, and we don't take that for granted,” Alen says. “In return, we want to bring high-quality ingredients and high-quality products to our guests.”
And even if some of the pastries have fancy French names, there is nothing pretentious about the shop or its owners. “People would ask us, ‘Why would you open your business in Parker?’ They felt like we should be in a city center. But there is a demand here for the same high-quality products we've always had in the city,” Carolyn says. “The people of Parker have been so supportive. We don't know why people are afraid to open a business in suburbia. It’s truly the best decision we’ve ever made.”
(quote for page 3)
“We don’t have signs in the display case that name the pastries, which opens a dialog with our guests as they ask what’s what. It's so wonderful to be able to share the history and culture of the pastries we make.”
(business info for bottom of pg 3)
Poulette Bake Shop
19585 Hess Road Unit 107
Parker, CO 80134