Pastry chef Justin Burke-Samson rolls up his sleeves. it’s 98 degrees outside on a hot summer day in Davidson, North Carolina. Confectionary tattoos grace Burke-Samson’s left arm. A whisk with 1940, a nod to his grandmother’s birth year as she taught Samson how to bake; “Oui” for Kindred; citrus vanilla soft serve to pay homage to his time at Hello, Sailor; “hungry,” he notes, “because I eat a lot;” and a vanilla bean vine to showcase one of his favorite ingredients to use when baking. It’s evident that desserts and pastries are his calling.
“It happened so fast,” he says, of newly opened Bonjour Y’all bakery in downtown Davidson, North Carolina (107 N. Main St.). Previously Gâteau on Main, a bakery and dessert bar owned by Tara Ragan, the two decided to bring Bonjour Y’all to life. “Instead of a butterfly coming out of a cocoon, it’s a butterfly coming out of a croissant,” says Ragan. “The idea of what I wanted and the menu of what I wanted is so similar to what Justin’s vision has been,” she notes, of their organic partnership.
Burke-Sampson previously led the pastry and bread program at acclaimed restaurants Kindred and Hello, Sailor, helmed by Joe and Katy Kindred. “Shortly after we opened Kindred in Spring of 2015, we got an email from Justin introducing himself and sharing his dream to one day open a bakery in Davidson,” relayed Joe and Katy Kindred. Dreamy soft-serve creations, hand pies fried in beef fat, and German chocolate poke cake put Burke-Samson on the map, prompting him to contemplate his very own bakery. “Amazing to see that dream come true!,” note the Kindreds. “We’re so proud of him.”
Bonjour Y’all opened with a lengthy line, selling roughly 70 cruffins (a croissant-muffin hybrid) in its first hour of business. The menu will include core staples with Burke-Samson’s rotating creations like gourmet pop tart flavors with a flaky crust, rotating pies, playful cakes, cinnamon sugar cruffins and tahini dark chocolate crinkle cookies. Southern-inspired macarons, such as sweet tea, lemonade and strawberry pretzel pie are on the horizon, he notes. “I’m taking French cooking and marrying Southern comfort flavors.”
The 700-square foot space is the perfect addition to charming, downtown Davidson, and the only bakery on the block. Inspired by small Parisian cafes and his passion for the nostalgic American comfort food. Burke-Sampson married the two to create the perfect menu. “I don’t want to create a traditional French patisserie though, we’re in the South so we’re drawing inspiration from the French Quarters of Charleston and New Orleans — fun, comfort, and good times,” he adds
“There’s only a couple things I ever wanted on the menu: pain au chocolat, baguettes and wine, which you can get in the evenings,” Ragan says.“If you were a fan of Gâteau those items you loved and that kind of vibe you loved we will still have, but I think it’s a better version of it — plus you’re going to have a whole lot more”.
Bonjour Y’all is closed on Mondays. Thursday through Sunday the bakery will stay open until 10 p.m. for guests to experience post-dinner desserts and wine. Ragan is responsible for the wine list featuring women-owned wineries and small producers from around 8 countries. Plus, the bakery offers a pantry with jams, curds, dessert sauces, granola, dips, and cheese spreads for takeaway. In October, locals will be able to enjoy pastries and baked goods delivered to their doorstep via a Vespa.