Matt Tilden, the acclaimed baker behind New York's SCRATCHbread, has moved to Chicago and joined the team at Baker Miller. Tilden, who closed his New York bakery in October, randomly popped in last week, and now he'll lead a menu revamp for the Lincoln Square bakery and cafe. That new menu will debut at Baker Miller on Wednesday, Jan. 27, after which Tilden will turn his attention toward the Miller's newer spot, Hot Bar by Baker Miller, which opened in November.
Expect more veggies and more bread, even after the Millers said they were ceasing baking bread last year. This move, according to Baker Miller's Facebook post will, "shake up the bakery world in Chicago."
Dave and Megan Miller actually visited Tilden at SCRATCHbread in the fall in Brooklyn after hearing about the pending closure. "After visiting we were blown away by his food —seriously delicious and creative— but [we] couldn't figure out a way to help or partner," Dave Miller said. "We told him how much we liked what he did and that we hoped our paths would cross again someday."
"Someday" came last week when Tilden stopped by unannounced, and the parties decided on a partnership. The Millers were already searching for a partner, as Dave Miller said they needed "cultural" and management help, plus inspiration for the menu.
Jokingly, Dave Miller referred to Tilden's title as "strategic operations samurai," and said the three have been working on a new menu that he's calling "both pastry and savory." They've eliminated plated dishes but are still tweaking. They're gearing up to be more take-out friendly, as SCRATCHbread was 100 percent carry-out.
Miller shared a menu rough draft which included soft-egg sandwiches — the "Meg" features smoked-pepper sauces, avocado and greens. There's seasonal fruit and sausage hand pies. For the breads, guests can add items like chicken sausage, hot fried capers and smoked prosciutto. Check out Tilden's Instagram account for more clues on the menu. There's also something called an umami pickle on the menu, and Miller said they're working on chicharron bacon.
"The ultimate goal is to create thoughtful, creative comfort food while increasing our hospitality," he said.