One of the very coolest parts of working out of a shared commercial kitchen is having the opportunity to meet a wide array of culinary professionals, all chasing after their dreams one plate at a time (Corny? Sure, but very true). A perfect example of this is Andrew Ullom, who moved into the kitchen commissary last August as an interim spot while he built out his perfect space. I was immediately impressed with his resume as the chef behind the entire bread and pastry program for Ashley Christensen's many Raleigh restaurants. But Andrew's big personality and over the top passion for everything baking- the science, the technique, the obscure sourcing of boutique grains- became his true defining feature. I was super excited to try out his new bakery and cafe when it opened last month, and like I was fully expecting, it was spot-on.
Union Special is located in a brand new reboot of Gateway Plaza, conveniently close to the intersection of Capital Blvd and 440. The environment is cheery and open, with lots of window seating and communal tables plus the added bonus of windows into the production bakery to watch these pros at work. The pastry case is extremely inviting, showcasing Andrew's signature, which is basically anything croissant-related (like pain chocolate or flaky savory pastries filled with vegetable and cheese combos) and his best in show cookies. Seriously, his chocolate chip is the best I've ever had, and that tahini-cherry cookie? Uniquely delicious.
As much as we loved the pastry, the true star of the morning for us was the Union Egg Sandwich. A generous pile of perfectly seasoned, lusciously soft scrambled and super cheesy eggs with thiiick bacon, a deep fried hash brown and savory Romesco sauce all on one of Andrew's absolutely incredible house-made burger buns. Technically it was perfect for sharing, this is a big sandwich, but I couldn't help resenting my husband when he finished the last bit. I mean, this is the stuff dreams are made of. It was that good. Their lunch menu looks incredible as well. New items are rolling out on the daily, like a sous vide turkey sandwich with marinated onions, raisin schmear, and sweet potato aioli on their own sourdough. Not your typical fare, friends, and that is why you need to check it out. Open 8-3 Tuesday-Sunday, give it a try and let me know what your new favorites are!
2409 Crabtree Blvd. Suite 102
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