The new Red Gate Bakery, which recently opened in the East Village, is guaranteed to bring you straight back to childhood. With an open kitchen and a warm exposed-brick wall, the bakery feels both bright and cozy. The sweets on display, which range from cookies to loaves to traditional celebration cakes, have a charming homespun quality.
This makes sense for a bakery that, through its name and offerings, pays tribute to the Nantucket home — a potato farm until the seventies — where Red Gate owner Greg Rales spent his childhood summers. On the brick wall facing the kitchen hangs a large, framed photo of the triangular red gate that stands in that Nantucket property’s driveway; the namesake photo was a gift from Rales’ sister in honor of the bakery’s opening.
Rales opens the bakery with help from its director of operations, Patricia Howard. The pair met in college while studying abroad in Paris and have since maintained a friendship that hinged around their shared culinary taste. When they embarked on opening Red Gate, each had some experience in the restaurant world — Rales at Flour Shop and Ovenly, Howard at the Beatrice Inn — though their baking skills are largely self-taught.
The recipes come from years of developing and workshopping sweets that Rales made in his home and sold to events. “I basically became a little one-man catering company,” says Rales of that time. “If you ask my PR team, I gained a ‘cult following’ doing that,” he laughs.
Highlights of Red Gate’s available pastries include homemade Oreos, salted caramel brownies, and an ambitiously decadent banana cake dotted with bits of bacon, iced with cream cheese frosting, and topped with toasted coconut. While the cakes will chiefly be available for preorder before celebratory events, Rales and Howard have also decided, for the time being, to choose one cake daily to sell by the slice. Drip coffee and cold brew from Cafe Grumpy are also available, along with cups of milk: whole, almond, or oat.
Red Gate’s location— near the corner of First Street and First Avenue, known to Seinfeld fans as the Nexus of the Universe— was previously occupied by the Tuck Shop, which sold Australian meat pies. Now, the storefront bears the glossy Red Gate logo — a triangular gate identical to the one from Rales’ childhood. The gate brings up “all of my memories of that place and time,” says Rales. “It’s been iconography for my family forever.”
Red Gate is located at 68 E 1 Street, East Village.