Eight years. That’s how long it took for bakery-cafe Riser Bread to sprout, grow and find its official home in a storied old Queenslander in Toowong.
In 2020, after years of dreaming and scheming, Tom Cooney (ex-Cup Specialty Roasters) and Duncan McKay (ex-Banneton) paired up with Kieran Ryan (co-owner of The Scratch and Netherworld) to launch Riser as a bread subscription service. That service quickly developed a following of dedicated paniphiles, many of whom declared Riser’s bread – in particular the olive sourdough – as some of the best in town.
At the end of 2021, the trio put the subscription service on hold to focus on finding a permanent space. They found it in the former home of Brent Farrell’s 85 Miskin Street, and before that Bruno Loubet's Bruno’s Tables.
With help from architecture firm Five Mile Radius and carpenter Ellie Farrington, they converted the space into a beautiful, light-filled bakery. Riser has more of a dine-in vibe than your average bread shop, and is huge in comparison to its contemporaries like Agnes Bakery, Sprout and Misspelt. There’s a large open kitchen, along with seating options out the front, on the ground floor, upstairs and in the garden out the back. Cooney, McKay and Ryan wanted to create a space where you could hang out and relax while you enjoy your pastries and coffee.
That’s not hard to do with this bread of this calibre. Popular options include the aforementioned Mount Zero olive, the lemon zest and rosemary loaf, a table loaf, and a seeded loaf aptly named the “Seedy Boi”.
The cabinet is filled with creative pastries by chef Kirsty Hustwick (ex-Loafer Bread and Sprout), and might include an asparagus and pecorino danish; a mortadella, pickled chilli and burrata croissant; a blood orange and poached pear danish; and a triple raisin and candied citrus escargot. There are also classics like plain croissants served with a seasonal house jam, almond croissants and kouign-amanns.
Later in the morning, the team brings out sandwiches, loaded focaccias and flaky sausage rolls, as well as a vegetarian sausage roll equivalent that might be loaded with broccoli, cauliflower and smoked cheddar. Prioritising sustainability, all the organic waste from the bakery is taken to Loop Growers and used to enrich the soil for vegetables.
For coffee, Cooney (who also co-owns Anytime) is running Coffee Supreme’s Five Star Day as the house blend and rotates filter coffee through a Fetco machine. There’s also chai from West End’s Yoke Kitchen, fresh orange juice and a selection of canned drinks.
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