When Covid hit and Leigh Rathner’s job as a cameraman in Hollywood was put on hold, he used his newfound downtime to reassess his career—and to bake a lot of bread. “He got a little obsessed,” Leigh’s wife, Cindy Rosenberg, says of the common Covid pastime. “But we saw it as our opportunity to get out of the city. He was like, ‘I’m going to open a sourdough bakery.’ And I was like, ‘You don’t know how to do that.’”
Regardless, that’s what Rathner did. After moving to Wilton in 2021, the couple launched Night Work Bread Co., baking out of a pizza oven in a kitchen borrowed from 9 Miles East’s Gordon Sacks. “We were working all week to produce enough for all the farmers’ markets, and then if there was bad weather on one of the weekend days, the whole week was shot,” Rosenberg says. “We had a vision [to bake] things that were more perishable and hard to send to markets, so we thought we’d keep our eyes open for a spot.” When they learned that a fellow farmers’ market vendor was leaving her location on Science Street in Ballston Spa, they jumped on the opportunity. In February of this year, the couple opened a small bakery that at press time was open Friday to Sunday selling loaves, pastries and breakfast and lunch foods including bagels, specialty toasts and soup, plus coffee from Knockabout Coffee Roasters, flowers from Goode Farm and tea from Saratoga Tea & Honey. Even the tables in the bakery are locally sourced; they came from a woodworker the couple met at a farmers’ market.
How has Rathner been handling the change of pace from Hollywood life? He says that while he’s still working long hours, it’s because he wants to, not because he has to. “Honestly,” he says, “in two years I have not once gotten up and been like, ‘I don’t want to go to work.’” Adds Rosenberg: “His job on set was pretty thankless. They would come down hard on you the minute you screwed up, but every single shot you got right? Nobody cared. Here, what he hears all day long is, ‘Oh my God, thank you for being here, this is the best bread I’ve ever had in my entire life.’”
“Some people don’t care much about that,” Rathner says. “I care.”