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Hamtramck bakery quietly becomes go-to source for French baked goods

What do Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company, Mudgie's Deli, and the Detroit Institute of Arts have in common? They all carry Matt Knio's breads, pastries, and buns. The Frenchman-turned-Michigander has quietly become one of the city's go-to people for baked goods.

Despite keeping a low profile, Knio's Hamtramck-based Golden Wheat bakery provides baguettes, croissants, and other French baked goods to a number of the city's popular restaurants, cafes, and markets. With very little web presence or branding, Golden Wheat's popularity has spread by word-of-mouth. Knio says that he doesn't advertise and that 90 percent of his customers come from referrals. You could be eating one of his almond croissants right now and not even know it was his. Still, business keeps growing.

Knio started Golden Wheat when, on account of a girl, he left France for Michigan. A year later in 2003, Knio opened a storefront in Birmingham. A 2007 chance encounter at a Rochester farmers market led to his opening a commercial kitchen in Hamtramck. By 2008, he closed his Birmingham storefront and started doing wholesale baking full-time. He's since opened a small Birmingham coffee shop, Cannelle Patisserie.

In Hamtramck, Knio runs his bakery at night, preparing his fine French baked goods for the morning. They work odd hours at the kitchen, operating from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. As a result, Knio catches up on sleep during the day. It's a committed lifestyle, but one that he finds rewarding. Knio believes that Detroit dining options have really turned a corner and he's glad to be a part of that.

"I travel quite a bit and see a lot," says Knio. "The area is getting more and more good food. It's not like it was five or six years ago."

One of the more recent restaurants to carry Golden Wheat products is La Feria, which opened in November 2013.

Source: Matt Knio, owner of Golden Wheat
Writer: MJ Galbraith

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