I know I’m late to the party, but Damsel and Hopper, the bakery that opened in the heart of Wallingford two years ago September has closed as of last week.
I stopped in a couple days before the closing and chatted with the owner, Rob Salvino, and offered to write a post before it closed, so people could come in and get their last loaf, but he gently waved me off, gesturing to the almost empty shelves and the steady stream of people already coming through to clean him out. “Please don’t, we already don’t have enough.”
I asked him why they were closing, and it sounded like it was a combination of factors. He said that the considered the space he was renting to be a temporary location from the beginning. It was short on space for customers and it had other shortcomings that were becoming more apparent by the day. He was trying to find a new space to move the bakery, but he realized it would’ve been a superhuman task to try to keep the bakery running while finding a new spot and then planning out a rebuild.
Rob didn’t sound upset or bitter, but maybe a just a bit melancholy. I asked if he planned to continue to baking and selling at the Farmers Markets around town, as he had prior to opening the storefront, but he said no, he’d be just going dark for a while. When I spoke with Rob shortly after he opened, he had talked about wanting to open a proper bakery cafe, with soups and meals. I don’t know exactly what his vision was, but I could tell by the way his eyes lost focus and he looked through me when he talked about it, that he could see it clearly.
At the time, he said he had his eye out for a place to move, because the Wallingford Ave space he was in wouldn’t be a good fit for what he had in mind. The topic came up again last week, but he emphasized that he had no immediate plans to start anything.
“If I open something, and again, that’s ‘if’, not ‘when'”, he told me, “I’d like to take my time with it, plan out exactly how it will be. It was too difficult to do that while I was also running the bakery day-to-day here.”
If you’d like to get on his mailing list and get notified if, not when, but if, Rob’s next venture opens, you can get on his mailing list through the Damsel and Hopper website.
(My review of Damsel & Hopper’s sourdough breads was one of my favorite to write.)