Baker and restaurateur James Holmes wants people to know something. He did not choose to move his business, Napoleon Bakery, out of Westport
. He had
to. "I loved that location," he says. "But my bread oven stopped working, and then the ice machine and two other machines. It was a perfect storm of disasters. When I said something to my landlords, they told me, 'Look at your lease.' I was responsible for paying for all equipment repairs. But those expenses would have bankrupted the business."
On top of all this, Holmes was moving out
of his second location in Briarcliff Village (where the Pastry Goddess had failed; it's now the location for the Sugar Mamma's Bakery
), which had been a costly mistake. So he packed up and moved out of Westport -- to Overland Park.
Holmes took over the space formerly occupied by another bakery and cafe, Artisan Francais. That bakery was abandoned, more or less, after owners Brianna and Sebastien Sain-Ouen went on a "vacation" from the business in the fall of 2008. The storefront space had plenty of things Holmes could use, including shiny refrigerated pastry cases, a great bread oven and other kitchen equipment.
Holmes remains one of KC's great pastry chefs, and his ambitions haven't diminished. In August he opens yet another new location: at 18th and Vine, near the new Danny's Big Easy restaurant. This Napoleon has yet to meet his Waterloo.