Have you ever yearned to try chocolate bread?
How about apple cinnamon?
Maybe Sicilian green olive & hot cherry pepper is what you’re really looking for.
Or maybe you’re a traditionalist at heart, and classic ciabatta or sourdough is all you need.
Whether your bread taste leans adventurous or classic, When Pigs Fly, a sourdough-based bread company that opened a location in Lexington Center less than two weeks ago, has a variety to suit just about any taste.
When Pigs Fly strives to bake bread that is “as clean label as possible,” President James Broom said.
Though the store sells fresh bread every day, baking doesn’t happen on site; all bread is baked in York, Maine between 9 p.m. and 4-5 a.m. daily and driven to each of the company’s six locations. When Pigs Fly donates any bread that doesn’t sell to food pantries, including the Lexington Interfaith Food Pantry.
Founder Ron Siegel dreamed up When Pigs Fly in the early ’90s. Siegel had previously worked as an executive chef in Boston; when he moved to Maine, he perceived a business opportunity in the absence of local fresh bread options, according to Broom.
“When he told his family and his friends that he was going to quit his trade as an executive chef, everyone told him that was going to happen when pigs fly,” Broom said. That helped inspire the name of the bread store, which became a family enterprise — Siegel won over his brother, Andrew, to run the business with him.
The Lexington Center location of When Pigs Fly is the company’s newest store, and its fourth in Massachusetts. As soon as retailer leadership discovered the vacant space in town about two months ago after searching for a new spot since the beginning of this year, they jumped on the opportunity, according to Broom.
“When we found this location right next to the ice cream parlor, right in downtown, right near a [busy] intersection…it just kind of seemed like a really, really good fit,” he said.
Challenges such as the pandemic and Center Streetscape project have taken a toll on many local businesses, even contributing to the closures of some. But in the short time since When Pigs Fly opened in Lexington Center, business has exceeded expectations, Broom said.
He credited the Town with contributing to that initial success, as well as local business organizations like the Lexington Retailers Association and the Chamber of Commerce. “They’ve been able to really guide us on where and how we should be marketing and advertising to be able to connect with the people that are here,” he said.
Landlord Jeffrey Lyon has also staunchly supported their new business, Broom added. “He’s been beyond our wildest dreams helpful,” he said, noting that he’d assisted the business with logistical hurdles such as permitting and licensing, introductions to local community members and redesigning the space to meet their business needs.
When Pigs Fly management already had some indication Lexingtonians liked their bread because it sold well wholesale through local supermarkets. But the bread store offers several “unique and fun breads” that are not available in grocery stores.
When Pigs Fly bread is distinguished by the practice of adding chunks of food into the dough.
“We’re sort of like the Ben and Jerry’s of bread,” Broom said. “If you cut into our apple cinnamon, there’s big chunks of apples…If you cut into our orange cranberry, there’s big chunks of orange peels that are in it…We have big, large, whole ingredients that are in every one of our breads.”
In the supermarkets, When Pigs Fly’s simple sourdough is its staple. But in the various bread stores, “every town sells a little bit differently,” Broom said.
In Lexington, the chocolate bread has been among the most popular items so far; cinnamon raisin and olive breads have also sold especially well.
Broom’s personal favorites: Six-grain pumpkin seed and the classic sourdough.
Donna Vigoda was one of a few customers checking out the store Tuesday afternoon. It was her second time visiting the Lexington location.
Vigoda used to buy When Pigs Fly rye from the grocery store, which is where she first came across the brand. But the Lexington bread store “is a whole new world,” she said.
Vigoda discovered the Lexington Center location from walking by the storefront and seeing When Pigs Fly signage before the store opened. “The list of kinds of bread was amazing,” she said. “Every day, fresh – crazy.”
Last time she visited the store, Vigoda opted for mango pineapple bread with ginger. “Dangerous,” she said. “I mean, it’s so good. So I’m going to try a different one today.” She was considering branching out to the harvest cranberry.
“I’m happy they’re here, and I hope they do well,” Vigoda said. “I hope the people of Lexington appreciate this.”
“We’re super excited to be in Lexington,” Broom said. “We’re excited to get bread in the mouths of the people…and we think that we’re going to be here for a super long time.”