Friday, January 6, 2012

No good bakeries in Charlotte?

When it comes to magazine and web sites doing "best of" Southern food lists, we in Charlotte are used to the dis. No, we can't hold a candle to Charleston on a "best food city in the South" list (subject of a poll in Southern Living that will be announced in April - go, Raleigh).

But Charlotte doesn't have a good BAKERY? Maybe 10 or 15 years ago that was true, but we've had an absolute rebirth of baking. We've got Amelie's. We've got Sunflour. We've got good ol' Suarez. We've got Great Harvest and Cloud Nine, Edible Art and Polka Dot, Nona's and Tizzerts and Down Home Baking in Waxhaw. Around here, bakeries are definitely on the rise.

So picture our sadness when we got the January issue of Southern Living, with a big article on Best Bakeries in the South. Atlanta food writer Bill Addison was sent in search of great places for cakes, pies, cookies and breads. And did Charlotte end up with a toe on the list? Nope.

Addison must have driven right by here, too: He went from Atlanta to Durham, for the justifiably wonderful Scratch. He managed to find Maxie B's in Greenboro, and two in Sugar Bakeshop and Wildflour in Charleston. But apparently, our reputation as the White Bread Capital of the South wasn't enough to justify a stop.

I'd have gladly bought him a twice-baked almond croissant at Amelie's. How about it, bakery fans? If Bill Addison had stopped in Charlotte, which bakery favorite would you offer him?

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

My wife & I went from Amelies as our favorite to Nona's, but if you want to extend to outside of Charlotte in the Charlotte area still...we love Albemarle Sweet Shop. We got a fantastic cake for our Christmas Dinner with family and friends. A big hit and it was 1/2 of what Nona's would charge and probably 1/3 of what Amelies would charge.

Kathleen Purvis said...

I love that tip, Anon 12:20. Thanks. Did you happen to notice if they had coconut pie? I've heard Albemarle has a special thing going on with coconut pie and I've been trying to find examples of it.

Flartus said...

I'm surprised you included Great Harvest but left out Nova's. Great Harvest is a franchise out of Montana, while Nova's is unique to Charlotte.

Anonymous said...

I'd add Daphne's in Mint Hill to your list. Everything we've gotten from there has been fantasic.

Anonymous said...

Nona's in University, Tizzerts, Suarez and Amelies are top picks of mine

Kathleen Purvis said...

You're right, Flartus. Thanks for calling me on it. With blog posts, it's all about working really fast. Although I'd say in Great Harvest's defense that Jeff and Janet Ganoung are more local than some locals. They're at the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market on Saturday mornings now, too.

Anonymous said...

You definitely have to head out to Mint Hill and try Daphne's Simply Southern. Wonderful bakery with delectable baked goods!

Anonymous said...

Where are the best cupcakes in Charlotte? I would like a place with moist cupcakes in interesting flavors - not just plain vanilla/chocolate/red velvet cupcakes.

Smedette said...

Amelie's and Nova.

Anonymous said...

Have you tried the Rosebrair in Albemarle for pies? Great place. Once upon a time there was a luncheonette in ALbemarle known for their coconut cream pies called Whitley's. OMG the best in the world.

Anonymous said...

Have you tried the Rosebrair in Albemarle for pies? Great place. Once upon a time there was a luncheonette in ALbemarle known for their coconut cream pies called Whitley's. OMG the best in the world.

Anonymous said...

Try Grannie Mac's in Harrisburg. Great baked goods and good coffee, too!

Anonymous said...

I know Mama Anne's Downhome Desserts is great. They are local and hit the souther style of sweets just right. I've bought from them before, excellent unknown in Charlotte.

Anonymous said...

Sunflour is amazing -- great breakfast sandwiches, cinnamon rolls, and a crazy cake list. For cupcakes, I have to recommend Polka Dot. They develop some pretty creative confection concoctions

Anonymous said...

Polka Dot Bakery has the best cupcakes anywhere...I think they are better than Sugar in Charleston and just about anywhere else that makes just cupcakes! Love, love, love the red velvet!!!

Anonymous said...

If you are up around Lake Norman, tried Just Baked Cupcakes in Cornelius...great cupcakes, coffee, scones, etc...try their website...just a ton of flavors. They do weddings, special cakes, etc... Make sure you try it out.

Kathleen Purvis said...

Is Gimme A Cupcake in Monroe still going? I made a trip out there once and thought it was a sweet place.

Anonymous said...

The Blushing BakeShop, Cloud NIne, Sunflour, Tizzerts, Polka Dot Bake Shop, Suarez, Kai's Kookies, WOW factor cakes and many more... we had all these great bakeries donate to our Cookies For Kids' Cancer Bake Sale this past December that raised over $100K for pediatric cancer research... We have a ton of great bakeries in our area....

Ken said...

I nominate Nova's and Divine Pies.

Anonymous said...

now i just want a bunch of sweets.

Anonymous said...

Sunflour and Polka Dot are both great, and I love the breads at Great Harvest. I would add Something Classic to the list. They are more of an overall catering company that bakery, but their cupcakes, cookies, and cakes are wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone ever make ANYTHING homemade anymore????

Anonymous said...

Suarez @ Park Road Shopping Center gets my vote. Their carrot cake is ridiculously good!

Anonymous said...

Huge brownie fan here! I try them at any bakery I go to as a truly great brownie is hard to come by (don't laugh!). That said, the Colombian bakery on Old Pineville Rd. (near Woodlawn) has the best brownie I have ever had. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

I've never had good bread in Charlotte. Try "Sweat Heart Bakery" In Detroit.

Anonymous said...

Edible Art was featured in a similar section of Southern Living about 10-12 years ago. Still the best in Charlotte!

par said...

By far, Suarez @ Park Road Shopping Center is the best in the city and Juanita's Bakery on South Blvd is a hidden gem.

Conan The Librarian said...

Tizzerts makes my bunghole tingle

Bill said...

Conan - Brilliant post, hopefully they'll leave it up!

Anonymous said...

Periwinkle's in Rock Hill make the best cheesecakes and cupcakes in Rock Hill.
Two on Earth Bakery in Pineville - makes the best of everything. Head over for Pie Friday and you'll see what I mean.

Anonymous said...

Decadent Designs Bakery on Elm Ln is really good. Sometimes they have really good Greek baked goods. They are super nice and sell their cake tops which make an excellent base for a strawberry shortcake! http://www.decadentdesignsbakery.com/

Anonymous said...

Just Baked Cupcakes in Cornelius is fabulous. Their cupcakes are moist and they don't have a ton of frosting like some other cupcake places. The frosting is delectable! If you go there when they have their chocolate cookie dough cupcakes, you'll never go anywhere else!

Anonymous said...

*chocolate chip cookie dough, I meant! :)

Anonymous said...

Have to agree with the earlier comment about no good bread in Charlotte. I load up when I get to Atlanta or Charleston - I have no idea why the bread from Atl or Chars tastes better, but the difference is amazing. (same with pizza)

Anonymous said...

Nona's Nova's Nova's........how could you leave them out of this article?

Charlie said...

I've made it a mission to find the best cupcakes in every city that I visit (was in Nashville last week -- Cupcake Collection, YES; Painted Cupcake, NO). And only one has come close to Nona's in the University area (for the person looking for really good & fresh cupcakes with variety). They have a cupcake bar, which allows you to mix and match the cupcakes -- usually 7-8 different types with 7-8 different icings. Unlike most other bakeries, that means your cupcake isn't really made until you order it. They keep the cupcakes in a case that ensures freshness. They make AMAZING cakes, too! My personal favorite is a chocolate cake with whipped chocolate ganache icing and peanut buttercream filling...delicious!

As for others, I really like Sweet Cakes in Cornelius. They offer mini-cupcakes, so you can purchase a small sample before you commit to one. There's are all pre-made, but still pretty fresh. I'm partial to peanut butter, so I like their PB cupcake and the strawberry. I've tried Just Baked in Cornelius, as well; cupcake was ok, but a little pricey compared to others for the amount of cupcake you actually get. I agree that the icing is pretty good. Polka Dots of Park Rd. is ok at best. Maybe you have to go in the mornings to get a really fresh cupcake; I've never had anything there that made me refer friends. I won't go to Suarez again--went once and ended up throwing away the cupcake before I even got to the car. It was dry and heavy. Blushing Bakeshop over in Ballantyne seems to have some promise, but I didn't like the banana cupcake I got there. Will try them again. There's another cupcake shop off Rea Rd (Blakeney, I believe) that is a pretty funky little shop, in addition to serving cupcakes. No surprise, I went with the peanut butter option there, too; and again, my complaint is the lack of freshness with the pre-made cupcakes. The icing was more peanut butter than peanut buttercream. There's a place in Fort Mill's Baxter Village, Cupcrazed Cupcake, that has gotten rave reviews. The owners won the Food Network's Cupcake Wars, but I was less than impressed. Quite a trek from NW Charlotte for mediocre cupcakes.

Anonymous said...

I recommend Antojitos Bakery on Old Pineville Road.

Anonymous said...

@Anon, 9:49PM

Yes!! I don't know why they aren't getting love here. Maybe because they aren't in a white-collar, Charlotte Miss Priss area? Off the beaten path are where the hidden gems are!

I 2nd the comment about the cupcake shop in Baxter. I was surprised at how ordinary at best they were.

Anonymous said...

Edible Art of Charlotte is excellent. Total scratch, the real deal. No crisco crap. Just good butter.

Anonymous said...

Southern Living is a Dinosour when it comes to magazines for the south. Garden and Gun is the magazine for the South. Check it out and become a convert!

Anonymous said...

I have to stick up for Suarez Bakery. They're excellent!

Anonymous said...

I had a cupcake at the SAS or something like that in Blakeney on Rea Rd and it was really bad. I'm amazed how many they seem to sell - might as well go to bilo and get a dozen for the price of one. To me the bakeries in Charlotte all seem to be bland, uninspired and charge double what they're worth.

Pat Anthony said...

Every place you named is great. I don't get it~

Pat Anthony
Charlotte Healthy Living Examiner

Anonymous said...

The Bread Basket on Monroe Road makes amazing breads and cakes. They also make cookies and other things, too. Another good one is Decadent Designs on Elm Lane. Their red velvet cupcakes are wonderful!

Albemarle Sweet Shop said...

Great to see our bakery mentioned here. I would invite any of you to look us up on Facebook. We have a lot of pictures posted so you can see what we have going on. We do make coconut custard pies as well as other flavors of custard pies. If you give us a try I think you will be very satisfied with our price and quality.

Shawn Oke, Owner
Albemarle Sweet Shop

Anonymous said...

Not a bakery, but gets my nod on the best cupcake Ive had in Charlotte. Angela's Italian Restaurant has the best homemade cannoli cupcake ever!!!!!!!!!!!!! Even though I love their food sometimes I find myself checking in just to see if the cupcakes are available. They got me hooked. Get one if available.

Anonymous said...

The best cupcakes in town are at Angela's Italian Restaurant in Mint Hill. The Canoli Cupcakes are awesome, the Italian Rainbow Cookies and Cake are wonderful as well, and we are headed back this evening for the Tres Leches cupcakes. Check their facebook page for availability and order desert first, because they go fast! All their sauces and breads are homemade as well, but we stalk them for those cupcakes!

Anonymous said...

@anon 4:37. I don't have a facebook account, what ever happened to a good ole fashioned email list? I was able to look at the photos, it looks as if I've got some taste testing to do. Everything looks good, unique. Thanks for the tip on Angela's.

Anonymous said...

I have to say that the best homemade cupcakes are at Angela's Italian Restuarnt in Mint Hill... The cupcakes are unique in flavor, never dry... I find myself rearranging my schedule whenever I find out that I will be headed into the area for work, just so I can have one of those delightful cupcakes....

Anonymous said...

Albemarle Sweet Shop is the best. I love the creme horns and clown cookies.....yum!!!!

Anonymous said...

We like Kai's Kookies and More. It's a hidden Gem next to the Scaleybark Library on South Blvd. They have the best Cheesecakes, 14 different flavors if i'm not mistaken. And the Mudslide Cheesecake with a chocolate cheesecake with Kaluah and espresso topped with a white chocolate, espresso cream and chocolate covered coffee beans; OMG!

krystle7250 said...

kai's kookies on south blvd! amazing desserts :)

Anonymous said...

The Bread Basket on Monroe Rd has great cakes!