Second Helpings: Bakeries
Chronicle writer Greg Beets writes up local bakeries in this week's edition of Second Helpings.
1120 W. Sixth, 472-1347
Mon-Sat, 6:30am-7pm; Sun, 6:30am-5pm
98 San Jacinto Blvd., 472-2411
This well-loved Austin institution has earned its reputation with excellent breads, cakes, and pastries. The ham and cheese croissant is a hearty way to start the day. Sweetish Hill keeps it coming through the lunch hour with great sandwiches on fresh bakery bread along with non-standard sides like cilantro potato salad, tabbouleh, and stuffed grape leaves. For dessert, try the plum tart, bee sting, or lemon bar.
Texas French Bread
2900 Rio Grande, 499-0035
Mon-Fri, 6am-7pm; Sat-Sun, 7am-5pm
3213 Red River, 478-8794
Mon-Fri, 6am-7pm; Sat, 6am-5pm; Sun, 6am-3pm
2270 Guadalupe, 474-2785
Mon-Fri, 7am-5pm; Sat, 9am-4pm
3112-A Windsor, 478-8845
Mon-Fri, 6:30am-6pm; Sat, 7am-5pm; Sun, 8am-3pm
10225 Research, 418-1991
Mon-Fri, 8am-6pm; Sat, 9am-6pm; Sun, 10am-5pm
3736 Bee Caves, 306-8010
Mon-Fri, 7am-7pm; Sat, 8am-5pm; Sun, 9am-3pm
1722 S. Congress, 440-1122
Mon-Fri, 7am-6pm; Sat, 8am-6pm; Sun, 8am-3pm
From its UT-area flagship to the furthest reaches of Silicon Hills, Texas French Bread keeps the faithful sated with pastries, sandwiches, soups, salads, and an above-average coffee blend. In addition to its namesake item, the focaccia sandwiches and Hobbit Bread are standouts. Dessert-minded hedonists will want to sample the Hyde Park Fudge cake.
4508 Burnet, 467-0102
Mon-Sat, 6:30am-6:30pm; Sun, 6:30am-1pm
Cinnamon roll aficionados should try the Upper Crust's version, a refined taste treat that refuses to overwhelm the cinnamon with sticky kid stuff sweetness. This centrally located bakery also serves breads, pastries, cakes, tarts, and cookies. The Black Gold cookie is as chocolate as chocolate can be. Workers from nearby state offices and medical buildings crowd the Upper Crust at lunchtime for soups, salads, sandwiches, and spring rolls.
3339 Hancock Dr., 419-7877
Mon-Sat, 7am-6pm; Sun, 8am-1pm
Who would've thought a former filling station would make such an inviting neighborhood bakery and coffee shop? Russell's carries a fine assortment of cakes, cookies, and sandwiches along with coffee, juices, and Italian sodas. The peanut butter and chocolate chip cookie is a particularly tasty reward. With quick access via the Hancock Drive overpass, it is a convenient place to wile away a lazy morning regardless of what side of MoPac you live on.
814 West 12th, 474-4822
Former Schlotzsky's pastry chef Rebecca Rather runs this multifaceted bakery near ACC's Rio Grande Campus. The apple-smoked bacon cheddar scone, Elgin sausage kolache, and Texas Pecan Classic Cinnamon Roll are some of the superlative breakfast items. For lunch, try the turkey with havarti or grilled vegetable sandwich on fresh ciabatta buns along with some homemade soup.
Quack's 43rd Street Bakery
411 E. 43rd, 453-3399
Mon-Fri, 6:30am-11pm; Sat-Sun, 8am-11pm
Although Quack's landmark coffee shop on the Drag succumbed to prosperity last year, their Hyde Park hangout does its part to carry on the spirit of Slacker-era Austin. It is a great place to luxuriate over coffee and a muffin while eavesdropping on gossipy conversations about the local music and arts scenes. Reasonably priced sandwiches and rice and beans resonate with the budget-minded, while the Toll House pie resonates with the sweet-tooth crowd.
4001 N. Lamar, 206-1000
4477 S. Lamar, 899-4300
If you're shopping for a picnic, the bakery at Central Market is a good place to start. Their fresh, chewy jalapeño cheddar and sourdough breads will turn any sandwich into a conversation piece. Other noteworthy items include croissants almost as big as footballs, and huge peanut butter cookies that will stick to the roof of your mouth. Throw in the rest of Central Market's formidable selection and you're ready to picnic. The North Lamar location even has a park out back.
Whole Foods Market
601 N. Lamar, 476-1206
9607 Research, 345-5003
Whole Foods' Bakehouse carries a fine assortment of breads, cakes, cookies, and pastries. Their strawberry, raspberry, and cinnamon scones make a fine mid-morning snack, and the cocoa chewy cookie will placate any chocolate lover. Meanwhile, their tasty "gingerbread people" resist sexist language with a moniker vaguely evocative of cannibalism. The bakery also carries a wide variety of vegan sweets.
5404 Manchaca, 443-5167
Although it is perhaps better known as a homestyle restaurant/catering operation with an eclectic international menu, the Bakehouse also carries a formidable selection of fresh baked desserts. Their Black Forest torte will take you back to childhood on a wave of super-rich, velvety sweetness. Other items of note include the cream cheese canoes, rum raisin runners, and an above-average chocolate chip nut cookie. The Bakehouse bakes the buns for their burgers and sandwiches, and a loaf of fresh-baked bread is served with dinner entrees.
Onion Creek Bakery
10003 Manchaca, 280-6399
Tue-Fri, 6:30am-6pm; Sat-Mon, 7am-1pm
This South Austin bakery serves croissants, scones, and sausage rolls to the morning crowd along with a full line of cakes and cookies. Onion Creek's specialty items include cheesecake and almond macaroons.
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