While Bend is famous for its vast numbers of coffee roasters and coffee shops, dunk-worthy pastries are often harder to find. But when found, that perfectly moist muffin, that flaky-buttery croissant, or that corn-crusted caraway rye loaf tastes as if it must have been sent from above. What's really going on? Hard working pastry chefs and bakers, are working early mornings and sometimes into the evenings (but we'll get to that later) to provide Bend with wholesome, fresh baked breads. Between bites of herb-and-oil bread from Bend's newest bakery, Baked, I've compiled a short list of some of our favorite Bend bakeries.
The Sparrow Bakery
From interior aromas to exterior patio seating, customers can be sure that their order is handled with care (not to mention handmade). Loaves of bread, baked fresh daily, are just the beginning. Croissants are hand-mixed and hand-shaped, oozing authenticity in every flaky, crisp, moist buttery bite. Tarts, quiches, homemade granolas and some of the most beautiful pastries in town beckon customers inside the pastry case. On a recent visit, my friend and I shared a breakfast sandwich and a chicken Waldorf, both served on croissants. The fillings were excellent, allowing me to fully enjoy the croissant. Service is friendly, lighthearted and prompt. The quaint location is somewhat hard to find, but worth the effort to seek out. 50 SE Scott St., open Tuesday-Saturday 7am to 2pm
Primarily a production facility for The Sparrow Bakery, La Voy is housed in the circa-1950s former Sweetheart Donut shop on 3rd Street. They cut the grease, added some yeast (plus talent, business savvy and hard work) and Sparrow's production house was born. All of the breads are made in this location and croissants are hand rolled and delivered to Sparrow where they are then shaped and baked. La Voy's business is primarily focused on restaurateurs, although they do offer a few fresh baked items each day. Once these highly desired loaves are gone, the retail window closes for the day. 505 NE 3rd St., open Monday-Saturday 8am-Whenever the last loaf is sold (stop by before noon to improve your chances).
The Village Baker
With two locations in Bend and a strong presence at the farmer's markets around town, The Village Baker's creations also can be found in area restaurants. Offering levain (French, sourdough starter), biga (Italian sponge starter), and specialty varieties, dozens of fresh loaves are baked and sold daily. New additions include an olive ciabatta and cheddar-scallion bread. The striata, an Italian flatbread sprinkled with poppy seeds, is the most popular loaf. Pastries abound from tarts to brioche to shortbread cookies; there is always something new and inventive to savor. A breakfast and lunch menu features fresh, local ingredients. The corn rye bread had the right amount of crust, caraway and was soft on the inside, taking me back to Katz's in New York City. The sandwiches are creative and well made, perfect to pick-up for a family outing. If you prefer to dine in, the eastside Village location offers plenty of seating. 1470 SW Knoll Ave., and 425 NW Windy Knolls Dr., open 7 days per week, 7am-4pm.
For those who can't get to the bakery by noon, or who simply prefer an authentic loaf, an ambitious, talented young chef has recently opened his one-man afternoon and evening bakery on the westside, called "Baked." Chef/owner Gordon explains that technique is the key to his rustic-style breads, all of which are hand-made and hand-formed. His baguettes are flatter and wider than others sold around town, due to their high water content, making an ideal bread to fill with meat and cheese. The Bondukkie, a traditionally Eastern European pastry, is composed of challah bread, nitrate-free bacon, caramelized onions and black pepper. To sweeten the deal, the daily pastry offerings include baklava, cinnamon rolls and lemon bars. They also sell made-to-order personal Neopolitan pizzas starting at $5, Wednesday-Saturday from 4:00pm to closing time. 735 Columbia, open Tuesday-Saturday 12:00pm-9:00pm(best to stop by at or after 3:30pm). Cash only.
For a quick loaf or sandwich, there are a few more bakeries worth mentioning. Nancy P's, nestled behind Newport Market, is a great spot for fresh baked breads, bagels, sandwiches, salads, and decadent desserts (gluten free options also abound). DiLusso on Franklin/Bond features a variety of sandwiches and fresh made salads and also operates a full-scale espresso bar. Great Harvest Bakery on Bond Street bakes daily breads and has some spelt and gluten-free varieties and fresh, made-to-order deli-style sandwiches.