Collingwood bakery To Be Frank draws crowds in Melbourne Covid lockdown

A quiet lane in closed-off Melbourne creates constant queues, five days a week.

The connoisseurs await bread and pastries from To Be Frank, an artisan bakery in an old warehouse in Collingwood, a 10-minute drive north of the CBD.

Opened by Franco Villalva and Lauren Parsons just before the pandemic in December 2019, the cafe serves a range of treats including classic baguettes, cheesy focaccias and almond croissants, all made from premium Australian ingredients.

It’s hard to stand out from the crowd in Australia’s undisputed culinary capital, but the draw card at To Be Frank is truly a unique specialty – a taco-shaped pastry filled with dulce de leche, inspired by Mr. Villalva.

North Melbourne residents wait in line for bread and pastries from To Be Frank, an artisan bakery in an old warehouse in Collingwood, 10 minutes' drive from the CBD

North Melbourne residents wait in line for bread and pastries from To Be Frank, an artisan bakery in an old warehouse in Collingwood, 10 minutes’ drive from the CBD

It's hard to stand out from the crowd in Australia's undisputed culinary capital, but the draw card at To Be Frank is a truly unique specialty - this Argentinean pastry filled with caramel

It's hard to stand out from the crowd in Australia's undisputed culinary capital, but the draw card at To Be Frank is a truly unique specialty - this Argentinean pastry filled with caramel

It’s hard to stand out from the crowd in Australia’s undisputed culinary capital, but the draw card at To Be Frank is a truly unique specialty – this Argentinean pastry filled with caramel

Other bestsellers include traditional pain au chocolat and two types of escargot, a spiral pastry topped with walnut and fig or chocolate and cranberry.

Croque monsieurs, decadent ham and cheese toasties and savory pastries filled with tomato, cheese and olives are also on offer.

Open Wednesday through Friday from 7:30 am to 3:00 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm, the bakery prides itself on sourcing premium stone-ground flour from certified organic producers, including the Rolling Stone Mil in Victoria.

On weekend mornings in Collingwood, you’re guaranteed to pass a stream of pedestrians carrying loaves of slow-fermented bread, bundled in brown paper bags bearing the To Be Frank logo in italics.

The bakery has gained a cult following of just over 7,000 on Instagram, less than two years after baking the first batch on Bedford Street.

Melbourne food bloggers and amateur reviewers rave about the creations on social media, with many calling the pastries the best they’ve ever eaten.

The bakery was opened just before the pandemic in December 2019 by Franco Villalva and Lauren Parsons

The bakery was opened just before the pandemic in December 2019 by Franco Villalva and Lauren Parsons

It serves a range of treats including classic baguettes, cheesy focaccias and almond croissants, all made from premium Australian ingredients

It serves a range of treats including classic baguettes, cheesy focaccias and almond croissants, all made from premium Australian ingredients

Opened by Franco Villalva and Lauren Parsons just before the pandemic in December 2019, the cafe serves a range of treats including classic baguettes, cheesy focaccias and almond croissants, all made from premium Australian ingredients

The bakery prides itself on sourcing premium stone-ground flour from certified organic producers, including the Rolling Stone Mil in Victoria

The bakery prides itself on sourcing premium stone-ground flour from certified organic producers, including the Rolling Stone Mil in Victoria

The bakery prides itself on sourcing premium stone-ground flour from certified organic producers, including the Rolling Stone Mil in Victoria

It has attracted a cult following of just over 7,000 on Instagram, less than two years after baking its first batch on Bedford Street.

It has attracted a cult following of just over 7,000 on Instagram, less than two years after baking its first batch on Bedford Street.

It has attracted a cult following of just over 7,000 on Instagram, less than two years after baking its first batch on Bedford Street.

‘I’ve been looking for good croissants in Melbourne and this bakery is definitely one of my favorites,’ wrote one woman.

She added: ‘I can’t fault their pastries. The almond croissant was incredible! It was so flaky with the perfect amount of sweetness.”

A second said she hasn’t stopped dreaming about Argentina’s dulce de leche pastry since she first tried it.

Food blogger ‘Chasing Pastry’ described the croissants as ‘packages of delicious, melting pastry’.

He wrote online, “I thought there was no such thing as perfect.”

Best-selling menu items include croque monsieurs, decadent ham and cheese toasties (pictured), and savory pastries filled with tomato, cheese, and olives

Best-selling menu items include croque monsieurs, decadent ham and cheese toasties (pictured), and savory pastries filled with tomato, cheese, and olives

Best-selling menu items include croque monsieurs, decadent ham and cheese toasties (pictured), and savory pastries filled with tomato, cheese, and olives

Other bestsellers include traditional pain au chocolat and two types of escargot (pictured), a spiral pastry topped with walnut and figs or chocolate and cranberry

Other bestsellers include traditional pain au chocolat and two types of escargot (pictured), a spiral pastry topped with walnut and figs or chocolate and cranberry

There is also a changing menu of specials with treats such as these rhubarb-spiced pastries

There is also a changing menu of specials with treats such as these rhubarb-spiced pastries

Other bestsellers include traditional pain au chocolat and two types of escargot (left), a spiral pastry topped with walnut and fig or chocolate and cranberry

On weekend mornings in Collingwood, you're guaranteed to pass a stream of pedestrians with loaves of bread bundled in brown paper bags with the To Be Frank logo

On weekend mornings in Collingwood, you're guaranteed to pass a stream of pedestrians with loaves of bread bundled in brown paper bags with the To Be Frank logo

On weekend mornings in Collingwood, you’re guaranteed to pass a stream of pedestrians carrying loaves of bread bundled in brown paper bags with the To Be Frank logo

Orders can be placed online on the bakery’s website, but with no delivery option you will have to live within a 3 mile radius until Victoria’s lockdown restrictions are lifted.

The state registered 79 new locally acquired Covid cases on Friday as the outbreak of the highly contagious Delta strain spreads across northern regional areas.

A retirement home in Ehuca, 222 kilometers north of Melbourne CBD, has been shut down after a fully vaccinated staff member tested positive for the virus.

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