How a CNM Alumni-Owned Bakery Rose to Success

The Burque Bakehouse makes some of the best treats in the City and will be supplying Valentine’s Day cookies for CNM Foundation Donors
February 12, 2021

CNM alum Sarah Ciccotello and her husband and business partner Chris McQuary, owners of The Burque Bakehouse, have been selling baked goods at the Downtown Market and Rail Yards Market since 2015. Nowadays, they operate the business out of a small storefront in the South Broadway neighborhood while a constant flow of Burqueños patiently wait outside to buy perfectly crafted sugary and savory treats.

The bakery specializes in Viennoiserie and sourdough breads. Viennoiserie is the French word for baked goods made in a style originating from Vienna, Austria and examples include  a variety of croissants and Danishes. This year the bakery is also excited to be delivering a special order of cookies to CNM Foundation Donors just in time for Valentine’s Day.

“Most of our items are crafted over days,” Sarah says. “The time, effort, and skill that goes into their preparation makes them all unique.”

Sarah is from Colorado and Chris is from Northern Virginia. They spent many years in the food service industry but eventually wanted their own business. “I felt it was time to strike out and create The Burque Bakehouse,” Sarah says.

Photo of The Burque Bakehouse

A Foundation at CNM 

Before founding The Burque Bakehouse, Sarah studied in the Culinary Arts program at CNM. 

“I loved my experience at CNM,” she says. “From the introductory classes to the labs, CNM helped me realize that I was on the correct path.” 

Chef Kerry Knoop’s class in particular helped her realize baking is “where I belonged within the culinary world.”

After CNM she studied at the San Francisco Baking Institute and then returned to New Mexico to start her business. 

A Commitment to the Community

When the pandemic started, The Bakehouse sold treats at outdoor markets and did some catering. Those avenues unfortunately disappeared and the business had to lay off staff. But thanks to a Kickstarter campaign, a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan from the Small Business Administration, and a small business grant from the City of Albuquerque, as well as the support of their customers, friends and family, Sarah and Chris were able re-hire their staff and open their current location. 

“When the opportunity to renovate a vacant building in our neighborhood became a possibility for our permanent location, we were all in,” she says.

To help train the next generation, Sarah has also started to employ up and coming bakers in the shop, including a CNM Culinary Arts student.

Going forward, Sarah says she and Chris are thankful for all the support, happy to have weathered the pandemic, and plan to keep making high-quality baked goods for loyal and new customers alike. 

“We are so happy to finally be open downtown and humbled by the support Burqueños have shown!” she says. 

The Burque Bakehouse has a walk-up location at 640 Broadway SE that’s open Thursday – Sunday from 8am-2pm (or when they sell out). You can also find limited items locally at Zendo Coffee, and Cutbow Coffee. You can order items for delivery from Skarsgard Farms.

Cookies at The Burque Bakehouse