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.
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.
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 ;)
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
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. :)
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!
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.