Ours is a simple endeavor. We are a neighborhood restaurant doing our own thing with great ingredients and a lovely gathering of people. “Asian-ish,” if you need a label. Just trying to do the simple things every day. Like being sweet to each other, saying “yes”, “welcome back”, and “thank you” as enthusiastically as we can.
13 years later.
An honors graduate of Harvard College with a degree in Applied Mathematics and Economics, Joanne left a career as a management consultant to enter the world of professional cooking.
She started as garde-manger cook at Boston’s renowned Biba restaurant, then worked as a pastry cook at Bentonwood Bakery in Newton, and in 1995 was hired as Pastry Chef at Rialto restaurant in Cambridge.
Joanne moved to New York City in 1997 to work in the cake department of the critically acclaimed Payard Patisserie and Bistro. Returning to Boston a year later with dreams of opening up her own pastry shop, she brought her French and American training to Mistral where she was the Pastry Chef until summer of 2000.
In 2000, she opened Flour, a bakery and café, in Boston’s South End. In 2007 she and her husband and business partner Christopher Myers opened a second branch of Flour in the Fort Point Channel. They now operate 9 Flour bakeries in Boston/Cambridge in addition to a sister restaurant Myers+Chang, which earned 4 stars in the Boston Globe.
Flour and Myers+Chang have been featured in Gourmet, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, the New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, Inc. Magazine, O Magazine, and Boston Magazine and have received numerous Best of Boston awards. Flour was also featured on Throwdown with Bobby Flay on the Food Network in which Joanne’s sticky buns won over Chef Flay’s.
Joanne’s energetic commitment to excellence extends beyond the kitchen. She writes pastry articles and reviews cookbooks for Fine Cooking magazine. She teaches classes and advises pastry cooks both within the bakery and at area cooking schools. She hosts an Instagram Live series Flour Love (#flourlove) featuring weekly baking kits and baking chats. An avid runner, she competed in every Boston Marathon from 1991 – 2006. In 2016 she was awarded the James Beard Award for Outstanding Baker. She serves on the Board of Directors for Share our Strength, a national organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger in America.
She is the author of five cookbooks: Flour, Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery+Cafe and Flour Too, Indispensable Recipes for the Cafe’s Most Loved Sweets and Savories, Baking with Less Sugar: Recipes for Dessert using Natural Sweeteners and Little-to-No White Sugar, Myers+Chang at Home: Recipes from the Beloved Boston Eatery, and most recently, Pastry Love, All my Favorite Recipes, which earned an International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook Award in 2020.
Christopher Myers is the co-owner of Myers + Chang restaurant and Flour Bakery + Cafe with his wife and business partner, Joanne Chang.
Christopher has been in and out of the hospitality business for 40 years, in LA, NYC, and Boston. Prior to opening Myers+Chang in 2007, he created and co-owned 4 iconic and award-winning Boston area restaurants: Rialto, Radius, Via Matta, and Great Bay. Rialto and Radius both earned rare 4-Star reviews for excellence from The Boston Globe, and all four received Best New Restaurants of the Year awards from Esquire magazine. Myers remains grateful to Esti Parsons, Michela Larson, Jody Adams, and Michael Schlow for their partnerships in these enterprises.
Myers’s education in restaurants began at 18, traveling from Boston to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. The timing of this pursuit coincided, luckily, with the early days of the California cuisine explosion. The “explosion” part suited his personality perfectly and the career path took hold. Stints at Charmer’s Market, Michael’s, Mr. Chow, and Central Park embedded an unexpected but lifelong vocation. “There’s one thing that can be said about my acting career, I was one helluva maitre d.”
In 1985, attempting another escape from the industry, while pursuing a doctorate in literature at Harvard University, Myers discovered that a well-stacked shelf in Widener Library just doesn’t compare to a well-stocked wine cellar. A birthday lunch at Michela Larson’s restaurant Michela’s led to a lengthy chat with Michela, and a friendship and eventual partnership with Larson and chef Jody Adams was created. He left academia for the third and last time. At last check, academia, like Hollywood, has been doing just fine.
Christopher began a partnership with Joanne Chang in 2006 and they created a second Flour Bakery. What wasn’t expected was Myers+Chang, as they were both committed to leaving behind restaurant nightlife. However, one night at home, Joanne made dinner inspired by her mother’s Taiwanese cooking. It was a simple salmon dish; slightly sweet, delicately seasoned, with a subtle chili heat off set by cooling cucumbers and cilantro. Christopher loved it. They decided that Boston might adopt a restaurant that offered a fresh and personal style of Asian cuisine. In 2007, Myers + Chang opened its doors.
Myers has always derived his greatest satisfaction in providing an atmosphere for his guests that possesses a sense of wonder, theater, and originality. “The best part of this life is in choosing a team that works to actively inspire hospitality. Creating a hospitable culture is an entirely proactive and creative process, one that makes for great dining and, often, lasting friendships. It’s not so much a serious endeavor as it is a curious lark.”
Myers has been involved with many local and national charities including Lovin’ Spoonfuls, Share our Strength and No Kid Hungry, The Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Sister, Big Brother, YMCA, Room to Grow, The Pine Street Inn, Community Servings, and Project Place. His opinions on hospitality and business management have been featured in Time, Inc., Business Week, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Playboy, Restaurant Hospitality, Santé, Food and Wine, the American Express Manual for Restaurateurs, and Fast Company.
Other momentous career highlights proving a life well lived, include: offering taxi service and hi jinks to Bob Dylan; lunch with Bono; over-hard eggs to Richard Nixon; a front and center table to OJ Simpson, (lovable, cuddly, Hertz OJ); draping a color perfect pashmina over Sophia Loren’s perfect shoulders; tweaking the cheek of Marcia Marcia Marcia; accidentally knocking a bottle of wine on Yoko Ono and Andy Warhol in the VIP section of Mr. Chow’s; a full blown shouting match with Sumner Redstone, who threatened to purchase the building the restaurant was in so that he could personally fire him; a crowning achievement– painting Ava Gardner’s bedroom a dusty mauve; and lastly, a near death experience brought on by smearing butter on John Gotti’s wife’s chinchilla boa.