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Baker Trades Oven for Ocean

But fans of his homemade sourdough won't be disappointed, he says. New owners promise to keep Fallen's recipe alive and in ample practice. They'll keep the Billy Bread name, too.

Fallen declines to name the new owners, saying the deal had yet to be cemented. He does say they are a local brother-sister team, committed to continuing the tradition of Billy Bread the way it is. One has a particular affinity for business, Fallen observes, while the other is a consummate people person. His three-person staff will stay on, too.

Fallen has been showing the prospective owners the ropes for the past few months, readying them for the bread business. For starters, it means keeping baker's hours. Fallen regularly goes to work just after 1 a.m. to prepare the dough, returning at 3 p.m. to "feed" the yeast — giving it a good dose of flour and water — before letting it sit overnight until baking begins.

A typical day yields 400 to 500 loaves, he says, which are sold in more than 30 restaurants and grocery stores from Richmond to Williamsburg.

Fallen, who moved to Richmond from Vermont five years ago, says he's been struck by the city's "character and charm," but is ready for a broader horizon and new adventure. In time, that could mean baking again — pizzas, perhaps. But it would likely be surfside.

"I miss the ocean," Fallen says. "I have a real interest in going to Costa Rica."

— Brandon Walters

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