5 Must-Visit Community Bakeries Around Town
I set out to write a short article highlighting a few of the wonderful bakeries we’re lucky enough to have in our great neighbourhoods. What I found was, well, a few things;
- We have a LOT of really great bakeries and it’s awfully hard to settle on just a few.
- A lot of these bakeries have won awards for their excellence in some form of baked deliciousness or other.
- Many of these bakeries are owner operated and the pride is evident in the product.
- All have an astonishingly loyal customer base.
But the one factor that really stood out for me was their commitment to their neighbourhoods… their communities… their customers, whether newer to the neighbourhood or long term residents, they all want the same thing, to create an environment to enhance the community.
So with that knowledge, let’s dig right in!
A visit to Wisey’s Pies and Bakehouse at 874 Eglinton Ave. E in Leaside and you will find the traditional and may I add, fabulously delicious, New Zealand meat pies in a crust so tender and delicious it may bring a tear of joy to your eye. If authenticity is what you’re after, Wisey’s has the answer. Gary Wise learned and honed his skill in his home country of New Zealand and happily for us, he decided to bring it to Toronto! And it’s not just for Leasiders any more. Those of you west enders who have always wished for the day will be happy to hear that Wisey’s is opening a second location at 43 Roncesvalles near Queen. Happy days indeed!
Opened for less than a year, Baker and Scone located at 693 St. Clair Avenue West in Hillcrest Village is really special and not just because they make probably the best scones this side of Windsor Castle, but also for their classes and meal programs. The scones are simply front of house. There is some pretty important stuff going on behind the scenes. The meal program is a once weekly pick up or delivery service offering healthy and delicious meals. But cooking classes are what really caught this chef’s eye. Offering both speciality classes as well as private cooking party classes and kids classes too. So much more than delectable world class scones.
Andrea of Andrea’s Gerrard Street Bakery might be known for her “literally-I-cannot-even-describe-how-delicious-these-chocolate fudge brownies-are” but once you experience the special atmosphere she has created you will be making the trek to 635 Gerrard St. E in East Chinatown regularly. Another shining example of making “support local” work beautifully. From the produce used in her foods sourced from local farmers, local teas, chocolates and hot sauces as well as retail items available from local artisans. She even provides wall space for local artists to showcase their talent. In Andrea’s own words… “As you can see it isn’t all about the baking for me. It’s the whole package. Supporting other businesses, creating a comfortable and supportive work environment for my staff and myself, and making our customers to feel welcome and taken care of.” Small business done right.
If you enjoy a neighbourhood atmosphere with a perfect latte made with custom blended coffees and a selection of baked goods from 10 local artisans bakers (gluten free and vegan options available too!) you really need to get yourself to The Rooster Coffee House. Now not only in their iconic Riverdale location at 479 Broadview but also at 343 King St. E. In co-owner Shawn Andrews own words “our manifesto is to build a community of people you love who love you” She and her partner Dave Watson, buy and support local whenever possible and their involvement with coffee goes right back to the farmer. They take the products they are providing very seriously, themselves a little less so… a perfect blend always.
Award winning pastry two years in a row; check. Rugelach worth crossing the city for; check. Hot meals including a stunning breakfast; check. But what is Lisa of World Class Bakers at 690 St. Clair W. in the beautiful Wychwood neighbourhood even more passionate about? The community. She goes beyond simply preparing food fresh in her bakery daily, she perpetually reinvents her ideas to keep new faces flooding into the area… it’s working too. This is a woman with more than just a touch for pastry. She has a desire to see the area flourish and grow. Keeping it fresh both literally and figuratively.
Stacia is a trained chef and yoga enthusiast who believes that healthy and delicious, real food can be produced in every kitchen. She knows that real life isn’t always as neat and tidy as a recipe and so she creates and shares simple and approachable recipes with minimal ingredients. www.bestillandeat.com Find me on Facebook