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Bars Bakery-- STP

Has anyone tried this place yet? I saw a reference about it on Twitter (I think) and it looks to be newly opened. It's nearby my neighborhood, so I'd love to hear any first impressions.


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  1. I feel like a Chowhound failure for not posting about this yesterday. Yesterday was their first day and I stopped in late in the afternoon. It's also in my 'hood, so I was very excited! From what I understand, the place is owned/run by the folks who started Swede Hollow Cafe. The place is super cute - fun, fresh and bright. I wanted to buy 1 of everything, but my trainer would lock me away for a long time if I did. :) Instead, I bought 2 cookies - a molasses (which I swear was virtually identical to my Grandma's recipe) and a chocolate cherry toffee (toffee was housemade). How I managed to save both to share with my husband is beyond me. They were SO good. Like beyond good. The cookies were so soft and moist and flavorful. I would highly recommend!

    As for other items they have that I didn't try - yesterday they have a couple of different savory tarts, lemon bars, pistachio caramel brownies, chocolate chip cookies, possibly snickerdoodles, cinnamon rolls and what looked to be the ooeyist, gooeyist caramel rolls ever! They also have a variety of espresso drinks.

    They don't take Amex, which is a bit disappointing for those of us trying to bulk up on Delta airline miles, but it certainly won't stop me from visiting again. Bars Bakery is going to give Sweets Bakeshop a run for my sweet budgetary dollars! BTW - they have a Facebook page too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Seige

      I live in walking distance of this place, so will definitely check it out asap. In fact, I might make a Selby Ave party of it tomorrow. Bars, the opening party for a new clothing store next door (Primp) and a free wine tasting at Solo Vino. Yes, its a shameless plug for my neighborhood but I couldn't resist ;)

    2. We have been twice - once on opening day and once yesterday. Full disclosure: we know the owners. As Siege says, yes, it's the original Swede Hollow Cafe folks and daughter & family. Great people.

      We have had:
      *caramel roll -- YUMMY. Very similar to the Swede Hollow version, if you've had it. Gooey, sticky, the dough part is both soft and dense enough to have wonderful mouth feel. Very nearly perfect. If in a perfect world, I'd love to see more pecans but this is a minor flaw. Will be hard for me NOT to get the caramel roll every time we go. My husband (mtullius on here) had the *Hungarian shortcake- sort of shortcake-y coffee cake with raspberry filling which he liked very much. Our daughter (2 years old) liked the tastes that she had of both.
      *Coffee, which is made individually filter-dripped (don't know what that's called)- a very good cup of coffee and my husband has very very very high standards for coffee (he roasts his own etc etc etc).

      Last night I picked up some dessert for us- chocolate cherry toffee cookie and a coconut macaroon with chocolate. Both yummy. I had the macaroon which I really enjoyed- great coconut flavor, high domed cookie, nice not-too-overwhelming touch of dark chocolate.

      We will be returning and not only because we know them but because the baked treats and the coffee are great!

      Swede Hollow Cafe
      725 7th St E, Saint Paul, MN 55106

      1. I forgot to mention that they also have a baker's rack of what appeared to be various canned/pickled veggies/items. I'm not a pickled person, so I didn't pay a lot of attention to what they all had there, but the display was pretty! I suspect those items were for sale and not just decoration, but I was too fixated on the sweet treats to know for sure.

        Additionally, they use local and organic ingredients as much as possible. They have a list of all the local producers they use at their counter. I know that a lot of the produce, at least for their tarts, comes from Tangletown Gardens.

        I am really jazzed about this place and I don't know the owners, but I suspect I'll get to know them soon enough with my frequent appearances. :)

        1. My 2 year old and I went on the way to daycare today and loved it! The staff was very friendly and helpful; we picked out caramel and cinnamon rolls for her to take to daycare (and me to take home) — the universal reviews from adults and toddlers alike were excellent.

          I first thought that $2.75 each was a little much for the rolls, but after trying them I'm sold and am hoping that I can resist making this a daily habit. I can hardly wait to try the signature bars!

          1. Wow, great reviews already! I definitely want to check it out this weekend.

            2 Replies
            1. re: KristinT013

              this is just in time for the Selby 'walkabout' a friend and I are planning for next week.

              1. re: faith

                Stopped in quickly last night and they were frantically trying to restock after a busy day. Got 3 cookies (snickerdoodle, choc chip and a chocolate/cherry). All very good, soft inside and lightly crunchy on edges. What I will have to try for next time is the savory tarts, they looked delicious! I think one was potato/leek/speck and the other had corn and maybe tomato. Worth a second trip for sure.

            2. OMG - this place is my new obsession and apparently everyone else's. Hubby and I stopped in this morning around 10:30 and they were busy! Like line out the door busy. Today's pleasures consisted of the potato/leek/speck tart, caramel roll, Hungarian raspberry shortbread, pumpkin cookie and 2 mochas.

              We shared everything and can honestly say there wasn't a bad item in the bunch. We got them to go so when we got home I warmed the tart and the caramel roll up in the microwave. While I have no doubt they're equally good cold, they were outstanding slightly warmed!

              Potato/Leek/Speck tart - the crust is the butteriest, flakiest, yummiest ever. It makes me wonder what these folks could do with pie (hint, hint!). The flavors were wonderful and it also has ricotta cheese. Just delicious all around.

              Caramel roll - every bit as gooey and yummy as I imagined. I'm not a pecan lover, so I much prefer the roll not being doused in them. For me there was a fair amount of pecans with it not being over done and LOTS of caramel.

              Hungarian raspberry shortbread - I think someone else mentioned that this is sort of like coffee cake and I'd agree. There's plenty of real raspberries too and I do love raspberry.

              Pumpkin cookie - This was my husband's idea as I'm not a huge lover of pumpkin either. I had to try a little nibble though. I'd say this cookie is more cake-like than cookie like but for not liking pumpkin, I rather enjoyed it. It had a nice fall spice to it and good frosting.

              Mochas - Quite tasty and with housemade whipped cream on top. Only word of warning here is that they don't have drink holders so the cups get a bit warm, but the drink itself was very good.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Seige

                Too funny as I was there this morning too. And also just raved about the potato/leek/speck tart. I agree with your description but would also add that the salt from the speck was so nice with the leeks and potatoes. Tried to buy a second but they were all gone! Also we had the pumpkin cookies. No caramel roll, as they had sold out and more were an hour from being ready. So nice to see a success in the neighborhood, and with a different twist from the other bread/bakeries on Selby (Piece of Cake, Great Harvest).

                1. re: dahlsk

                  I agree! That used to be such a sad little corner. I love that it's becoming so vibrant! I think I'm also really drawn to this bakery because as I've described it to friends, it's like my Mom or Grandma started a bakery. It's all the bars and cookies they would make, not fancy French pastries and cakes. I think there's a real sense of nostalgia with this place and I LOVE that! My only hope is that they don't outgrow this location too quickly!

              2. Is this place on the southeast corner of Dale and Selby, what was formerly a Catholic "accessory" store, and before that a convenience store? Last I checked (about a month ago), the space had been vacant--and had been so for at least a few months.

                If so, the owner of that space must have finally caved and let a coffee shop/bakery in there. I know a previous party that was interested in that space for that exact same purpose, but the owner of the building--the same guy who owns Louisiana Cafe across the street, did not want to lease the spot to a business that would compete or take away business from LC.

                Well it's interesting how a couple months of missed revenue opportunity can change people's minds... There's plenty of diverse food options at that intersection where one place shouldn't undermine another.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Special Dish

                  Sort of. The actual corner you speak of that had the Catholic store is now a women's boutique called Primp. Bars Bakery is 2 doors down from Primp on Selby. It's in between Mango Thai and BlackBlue (a men's clothing store). It's funny because I'm trying to remember what used to be where Bars is now and it's just a blank - rather unmemorable corner before.

                  Mango Thai Restaurant
                  610 Selby Ave, St Paul, MN

                  1. re: Special Dish

                    I lived on that very block until a couple of years ago -- and I'm mourning that I didn't get to be neighbors with Bars! I think Bars went into the space that used to house a sad little sandwich shop called "Chicago Subs" or something similar.

                    1. re: mcgeary

                      Yes! That's totally what wsa there before. A-1 Chicago Subs, I think. Never stepped foot in it once.

                      1. re: Seige

                        I think there was a place that made gyros and baklava in that area too. Maybe after the sub place?

                  2. I finally made it yesterday. I had pretty high expectations and the things I have sampled so far have met my expectations. The coconut macaroon I tried yesterday was nice and moist on the inside and a bit crispy on the outside. Today I had tried 1/2 of a Hungarian Shortbread bar for breakfast (the raspberry filling was quite flavorful) and 1/2 of a brownie with caramel as an afternoon snack (perfect texture, even the next day, in my opinion - I know brownies can be a bit polarizing with the whole fudgy/chewy thing - this one was on the fudgy side, but not crossing over the line into actual fudge). It is not exactly close, but I totally plan to go back (or convince my husband to go back since it is near his office and they have such short non-weekday hours).

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: LauraB

                      Ooo... I've not hit a coconut macaroon day yet. Last Saturday I got a gingerbread white chocolate blondie that was to die for! Still completely obsessed with this place a month later. :)