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A decade after its founding, Persephone Bakery has its own storefronts and two sister restaurants.
BY DINA MISHEV
IN 2011, LE Cordon Bleu–trained Kevin Cohane and his wife, Ali, founded Persephone Bakery—named for the Greek goddess of grain. They never imagined where they’d be a decade later: semi-finalists in the Outstanding Pastry Chef category of the 2020 James Beard Foundation Awards with four restaurants around Jackson Hole. “It has been the most wonderful and affirming surprise that the community responded to our little bakery in the way that it did,” Ali Cohane says. Here’s a look at the Cohanes’ three concepts—Persephone, Picnic, and Coelette. (Two of their four restaurants are Persephone Bakeries. Here we focus on the original one in Jackson; the other Persephone is in Wilson.)
Aesthetic: Wyoming meets French café
History: In 2013, the Cohanes opened their own storefront for their baked goods, transforming a neglected log cabin just off the Town Square into Persephone Bakery Café. “We had no idea how it’d go,” Ali Cohane says. It was a success from the start and has been included in lists like “Most Beautiful Coffee Shop in Every State in America” (Architectural Digest) and “Best Bakery in Every State” (mashed.com).
Must Eat: Scone Skillet—cheddar scallion biscuit with red-eye sausage gravy, fried egg, and pine nut crumble.
Coffee Situation: Persephone is the first café anywhere to serve Overview Coffee, which uses principles of regenerative organic agriculture and was founded by local pro snowboarder Alex Yoder.
Extra Credit: The “spoon wall” was originally conceived to be the “rolling pin wall” until the Cohanes realized that was not going to work. “We switched gears and thought wooden spoons would be a lot easier,” says Ali. The pattern that ended up on the wall wasn’t even laid out in advance. “We just glued them up and kept going with it. Now it’s the most-photographed part of Persephone.”
Visit:145 E. Broadway Ave., Jackson; 307/200-6708, persephonebakery.com
Aesthetic: Modern Western
History: “It would have been easier to have just done another Persephone,” Ali Cohane says about Picnic’s founding. “But the concept was to do a place for locals, and the space we found was in a modern building. Persephone wasn’t right; the space and idea felt like they were something new.” So Picnic opened in late fall of 2015. (Picnic’s not 100 percent different from Persephone though; the café serves Persephone baked goods and breads.)
Must Eat: Pork & Eggs Toast—Snake River Farms pork shoulder, smoked tomato butter, maple cream sauce, goat cheese, and sweet drop peppers on a thick slab of levain.
Coffee Situation: Choose between Intelligentsia, a pioneer in third-wave artisanal coffee, and locally roasted Snake River Roasters, a woman-owned-and-operated roastery founded in 2007.
Extra Credit: “I love highlighting local artists,” Cohane says. The porcelain pendant lights clustered near the front entrance are handmade by local potter Jenny Dowd of Dowd House Studio. “It was meant to be a vision of cloud light,” she says. Each shade is handmade; the translucent clay allows them to glow, and the overlaps evoke breaks in clouds.
Visit: 1110 Maple Way, Suite B, Jackson; 307/264-2956, picnicjh.com
Aesthetic: Sexy log cabin
History: Coelette takes its name from early locals Ed and Emily Coe, who operated a blacksmith shop out of this cabin for many years starting in the 1920s. (The cabin was built by Martha and Clarence Dow in 1915.) Between 1976 and 2017, Sweetwater Restaurant called this cabin home. Before Coelette opened in August 2020, two years were spent doing a full restoration of the cabin and building an addition that includes rooftop outdoor seating.
Must Eat: Kaiserschmarrn—a shredded pancake with black strap rum, bing cherries, maple, and preserves (available only during weekend brunch).
Coffee Situation: Ali Cohane says Pinedale-based Pine Coffee Supply “has a very distinct roast profile—very fruit-forward with lots of berry notes. It’s a pretty progressive style of roasting that no other cafés or restaurants in the valley serve.”
Extra Credit: The stone bust above the fireplace that overlooks the main dining room is of Zeus, the father of Persephone. The men behind the local shop Mountain Dandy found the sculpture on a road trip. “It was originally something we had planned to put in our own house,” says Mountain Dandy’s John Frechette. “Once we got to working on the Coelette project and remembered that Zeus was Persephone’s father, we knew it just had to fit somewhere in the design.”
Visit: 85 S. King St., Jackson; 307/201-5026, coelette.com JH
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