When he was developing Sidekick, the sibling bakery that opens alongside the new Ted’s Bulletin today in Ballston, entrepreneur Steve Salis wanted to partner with a pastry chef who boasted equal expertise in the technically demanding baked goods found in classic European cafes and the guilty pleasures that deliver sugar highs via American drive-thrus.
The push and pull of those seemingly contradictory institutions shows up all over the menu of sweet and savory pastries, soft serve-based desserts, and confections. But nowhere is it more evident than in the Frostee and Fries croissant, one of many treats engineered by Vincent Griffith, the new group pastry chef at Salis Holdings who cut his teeth at modernist kitchens in Chicago.
Griffith’s team stuffs the croissant with a malt chocolate and french fry cream and drapes it in dark mirror glaze, crunchy salt, and potato chip pieces.
“I come from a fine-dining background, a luxury hotel background,” Griffith says. “But if you look at the products we’re going to be serving, there’s no compromise between anything I would serve at those establishments and here.”
The croissants include a variety stuffed with matcha tea cream and strawberry jam as well as Reuben a flavor full of house pastrami, pickles, mustard, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese.
Griffith says the cakes (3-inch or 8-inch) will be more European style versus American layered buttercream cakes. The flavors of the Celebration Cake (confetti cake, vanilla mousse, crispy confetti, unicorn sprinkles) are undeniably fit for a stateside birthday.
While milkshakes will stay in Ted’s domain, Griffith and Co. have developed Snowdays, Sidekick’s answer to the Dairy Queen Blizzard or McDonalds McFlurry. The frozen treats are made out of house soft serve that blends in Ted’s Tarts (in the case of strawberry shortcake) or other flavors such as a s’mores that with marshmallow fluff and toasted graham cracker. Oat milk is the base for vegan Snowdays such as pistachio and black sesame cookies and cream.
“We want to look at it like almost like a plate of dessert in a cup,” Griffith says.
Ted’s Tarts will be sold on their own, but they’ll also carry over into the flavors of Duos, a line of cookies that Salis describes as a smash-up of a sugar cookie and a tart.
Miniature breakfast sandwiches dubbed Slidekicks come in mix-and-match orders of two. Three different types will be served on a sweet potato brioche covered in black sesame seeds: Asiago egg and cheese; cheddar, chive and egg; and steak and eggs with chimichurri sauce and roasted poblano peppers.
Salis says the group is also banking on coffee to be a big part of the new business. His company has started manufacturing its own brand for drip coffee as well as nitro and espresso drinks. Sidekick is also focussed on tea, with matcha and chai drinks as well as a rotating seasonal nitro; cherry hibiscus is up first.
Although he wouldn’t comment on where else in the company drinks and pastries from Sidekick could show up in the future — Salis Holdings also owns Kramerbooks and Federalist Pig — Salis did say to expect “a lot of collaboration” and “crossover” in the future.
Sidekick (4238 Wilson Boulevard Suite 1130 SK) is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and closes at 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Website.