Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop is a small artisan bakery which began in the heart of South Addition – one of Anchorage’s oldest neighborhoods, just south of downtown. In the fall of 2015, a second location was opened in the charming Airport Heights neighborhood, just south of Merrill Field. Our line of baked goods include crusty, traditional breads, sweet and savory croissants and scones, hearty muffins, fresh baked cookies, frosted cakes, tarts, multi-grain granola, a variety of daily sandwiches, and holiday specialties. We proudly brew organic, fairly traded coffee and tea.
We arrive in the early hours of the morning to bake small batches of croissants, breads, muffins, and scones. We crack the eggs, zest the fruit, cook the chutney, slow roast the tomatoes, and (lovingly) feed the “sourdoughs” – everything is hand made. Only the finest and freshest ingredients we can find are used in Fire Island baked goods. All of our flour is organic and specially chosen and milled for artisan baking. We believe this yields the best tasting and most responsibly made products.
We appreciate the community spirit that surrounds the bakery. Fire Island staff strives to provide great service and friendliness to all our customers, and we stand by the quality of our products. If you are ever not satisfied, we will gladly make it right. We wouldn't have it any other way!
Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop was founded by Janis Fleischman and Jerry Lewanski in the spring of 2009. Three years later, Rachel became their partner, and as a family and business team, they run the incredible staff of bakers and baked good enthusiasts in their immersive kitchen in downtown Anchorage.
A Family Affair
Jerry's love of baking began as a hobby—a passion for cooking that he indulged in his off-hours. After retiring as Alaska's Director of State Parks, Jerry spent a year training at the San Francisco Baking Institute, where his passion for baking truly took off.
Janis shares her husband Jerry's passion for food and the culinary arts. Janis toured the country, studying bakeries around America, and discovered what works and what doesn't as well as what styles and tastes they most enjoyed.
Rachel, their youngest daughter, began working at Fire Island in the winter of 2010. Though she started as a baking assistant, her enthusiasm and skill allowed her to grow into a head baker. After studying for six months at the San Francisco Baking Institute she returned to Fire Island as manager and part owner. Rachel works with J2, Kelli and Carlyle to develop the menu each season, oversees daily operations and makes sure that every batch of scones, cookies and sprouted grain sourdoughs comes out of the oven perfectly.
Fire Island is truly a family business. Daughter Greta and her husband Jason were Fire Island's first bakers, and Greta's older sister, Marya and her husband AJ provide invaluable moral support. Janis and Jerry's son Josh moved to New York City with his wife Tess, who worked at the bakery for the first year and half to establish the marketing and branding and is responsible for much of its look and feel.
Our Talented Staff
Fire Island has an incredible team of bakers. Our bakers have trained at some of America's finest culinary programs. We continue to train talented Alaskans in the craft of artisan baking through on-site training as well as distance courses.
Carlyle Watt is the head baker of both the bread program and savory offerings; sandwiches, fococcias and galettes. Carlyle has a strong connection to the local farmers and designs the menus accordingly. He grew up in the South Carolina Low Country where he was taught to cook the traditional cuisines of the Carolinas from his parents and Grandmothers. He refined his skills at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, moved to Alaska to be a personal chef, and stuck around for the music and food. Carlyle was recognized as an "Outstanding Baker" by the James Beard Foundation in 2017. He is an integral member to our team, and we are lucky his musical talents enhance his culinary skills, and we can only assume, vice versa. To the musical and baker/chef magician!
Kelli Culpepper is "our other arm." She seeks to bring creativity and intention into everything she makes. Kelli's love of cooking started at a young age, helping her parents in their kitchen at home in New York. Kelli strongly believes that our health, happiness, and well-being stem from what we eat and strives to always bake with that principle in mind. She is happiest in the kitchen or playing in the mountains and shares in Fire Island's core belief that the best ingredients are whole, unprocessed foods.
Jason Croft was at Fire Island in the beginning. He helped paint the walls, wax the floors and baked some of the first loaves in our bread oven. He served as an early savory and bread manager until mid 2010. Needing a break from years of kitchen work Jason and his wife Greta moved to Madison, Wisconsin and started a small, highly diverse vegetable, livestock and flower farm called Turnstone Farm. In 2015 and 2016 Jason served as Director of Operations for a mail-order and home delivery Alaskan seafood company based out of Sitka. In late 2016 Jason decided the timing was right to return to the family business. Jason manages our Airport Heights location, Farmers Markets and handles our equipment maintenance. Jason also co-owns Fire Island's Urban Farm (Turnstone Farm) with his wife Greta and son Llewyn.
We put the highest premium on the customer experience at Fire Island. Our friendly and knowledgeable counter staff will happily answer questions and make recommendations. In addition, Fire Island is proud to provide a safe and supportive working environment.