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just found a bakery in Sarasota to die for !!!!!!!

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  • irwin Feb 21, 2011 10:41 AM

Small Batch Bakery
2336 Gulf Gate Drive
owned by "James"
formally the baker with Michaels on East....
His products are insane and all made from scratch.....
I just had a blueberry muffin and a brownie.....
I need more. I need to go back and get more....
Everything is made daily and exceptional.
Give it a try--
Irwin

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  1. Do they serve coffee or have a place to sit or is it more of a place to take stuff out?
    JeremyEG
    HomeCookLocavore.com

    1 Reply
    1. re: JeremyEG

      Not sure about serving coffee, but he does have a few tables and chairs.

    2. You do need more! You also need to take some pics and show us what he's got in there when you go back :)

      1 Reply
      1. re: askdrtodd

        Didn't someone already post this article: http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/...

      2. I stopped in today. If the guy makes it I will be surprised. Not very well organized. I did buy a loaf of bread, and it was very good.

        9 Replies
        1. re: Mother of four

          What kind of bread did you get? Looking for a good place for bread. I'll check it out soon!
          JeremyEG
          HomeCookLocavore.com

          1. re: JeremyEG

            The owner seems to have a mind of his own. He bakes one bread a day, but you never know what day he is going to bake what. Instead of giving you a list of what days he bakes what, he tells me he bakes what ever he's in the mood to bake. If he continues like this I am afraid the bakery will be short lived.
            It amazes me how some people go into a business without any knowlege of how to run a business. Plus he was on the phone the whole time I was there, even when he was talking to me. As you can sense this was not a wonderful experience.

            1. re: Mother of four

              the talking on the phone,not so good. chef's choice bread, for me no problem.

              1. re: magiesmom

                Not a problem for me either. Phone maybe not so nice. If he's really making something inspired each day, I'll take it over blah baked goods at a bakery with a printed menu.
                JeremyEG
                HomeCookLocavore.com

                1. re: JeremyEG

                  Well, I'm just curious how long the bakery will be in business.

                  1. re: Mother of four

                    Something tells me that he may have developed a large wholesale business of delivering deserts to restaurants, and this will carry him, because his retail business is not enough to carry the expense. He might also deliver bread to restaurants, and that is why he is on the phone taking orders for the next day.

                    1. re: irwin

                      Still not a wonderful way to run a business. I was in there at about 3PM, and he was loaded with loaves of bread. Maybe he needs a helper to welcome customers. Also might help to have a web site. I really would happily welcome a good bakery, and being so close it would be doubly welcome. I will try again this week and see how it goes.

                      1. re: irwin

                        How much volume can he do? Seems to be a one man operation.

                        Motherof 4, I too, think he will not make it.

                        1. re: ospreycove

                          When i was there he had a woman helping him and maybe it was his wife.....I am not sure. Also, she might of been delivering when you were there. Its very very new, so he is trying to keep costs down. Not sure it was a smart idea of giving up a good paying job at Michael's to open up his own shop, but he must of had something in mind such as selling to wholesale accounts.

          2. Just checked it out today and man, his asiago bread is good. I have a loaf of semolina as well which I will probably put out at a party tonight. No phone problems. He was present and welcomed each customer. I asked about whole grain and he said in the future he will start making it but not until he has been open for a bit. No complaints here. Carrot cake looked good too.
            JeremyEG
            HomeCookLocavore.com

            11 Replies
            1. re: JeremyEG

              Went back today. Thank goodness, no phone. The bread was a sour dough and wonderful. I wish I could figure out a way to generate some business for him. Me buying my one loaf a week somehow won't do it.

              1. re: Mother of four

                Glad to hear you had a better experience.

                1. re: irwin

                  What ever happened to the Chinese restaurant you were going to? Sushi restaurants are the only decent one's that we have found here.

                  1. re: irwin

                    Experience not so good today! Sign inside said closed for maintenance!!! Not a happy camper!

                    1. re: Mother of four

                      Same thing happened to me. The guy was sitting in there, no wave, nothing. The sign said something about new hours coming soon. Maybe next time. There is a Polish bakery down the street and a French one opening up as well. Anyone know anything about these places?

                      1. re: CFishman

                        I'm sorry to say, but I say it again, he is not going to make it. Where is the French bakery opening up? I haven't heard anything, but would love to have a good reliable bakery close by.

                        1. re: Mother of four

                          The French Bakery/Creperie is on Mall Dr. The sign says opening soon.

                          1. re: CFishman

                            Thanks, that must be where the French Affair is. I will give it a try.

                            1. re: CFishman

                              Cfishman, My bread run always is to Mazzaro's, a little bit of a distance, but still the best in the area, way better than anything in Sarasota, sad to say.

                              1. re: ospreycove

                                Mazzaro's is always a good time. It's probably about as far from you as it is from me. Definitely worth the drive. I'll have to keep them in mind when we need bread. My wife is central European so we often end up at Red Square Deli for a nice dark bread they sell.

                                1. re: CFishman

                                  I pass Red Square just about daily--- good to know...

                2. Update! He is open for business, actually had three customers when I was there today. He has a sign that now tells you what day he is making each bread, and he is closed on Sunday. He gave me a taste of the olive and something else bread and it was wonderful. I bought a loaf of sour dough .. great! He has a ledge with a few stools that you could sit at inside and one small table outside. No website, but he said that he is on Facebook. Still needs a website!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Mother of four

                    I finally made it to Small Batch Bakery, today. I was looking for bread, got there early and the "Bread of the Day" was Ciabatta. I was informed that the breads would be ready in the afternoon, The owner/baker/sales clerk said he does not work during the night but still puts in 12-15 hour days!. He was finishing some freshly made breakfast pastries including muffins, cinnamon rolls, cheese pockets(danish), almond croissants etc.. I bought several to try with my friends. They were all great, no shortening, just real butter and natural flavorings. even though the items I bought were at first look, pricey, ($3.50 each) they were excellent and well worth the price for the quality.
                    I made a note of the "Bread of the day" and now I know to go there in the afternoon on a specific day if I want a certain bread. This guy is a true craft baker making artisianal products. His business needs to grow to the point where he is more than a one man show, in order for the business to survive, and for him to not run himself into the ground. Currently he is closed on Sundays.
                    We will try all of his products in due time...........

                    1. re: ospreycove

                      I too was there today. I bought a loaf of the Ciabatta and also a loaf of the olive bread which he had from yesterday. I am trying to talk him into making a rye bread with seeds, but unfortunately he's not co operating!!!! I don't know if a business like that can survive...he was telling me how huge his electric bill is.

                  2. I have been to this bakery 3 times and sampled about a dozen items which is easy to do as he sells lots of little squares and slices as well as breads, etc. He makes fresh challah bread on Fridays and it is among the best I have tasted...ever! I will be going back on Friday for another loaf. Have not tried the other breads yet but plan to. The carrot cake was also excellent...a great balance of moist cake with lots of cream cheese icing. Some of the squares were a bit on the sweet side but the lemon one was fabulous...not too tart and not to sweet and very creamy. I also tried his homemade vanilla ice cream oatmeal cookie sandwich which was a generous portion. The ice cream was very rich and creamy but the cookies were just a little bit too sweet. The cookies would probably be good on their own. And, the ice cream would be good with anything, anytime. This is a small place with an owner who does not seem to be very experienced at running a business. He may not be especially customer service savvy but I think that is because he may be a bit overwhelmed with his new responsibilities. If superior customer service is very important to you, well then maybe wait until he has some of the kinks worked out. I have chatted with him one time when he was not too busy and I thought he was friendly enough and he seems to be trying hard to produce a high quality product. As long as he keeps focused on quality as he now is, and turns out innovative, scrumptious baked items and breads, then I will be showing up to buy them. I highly recommend that you go there. There are some stools there and a counter. Perhaps he plans to have a couple of tables as there is room but right now it is most take out.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Shoshanna88

                      I wonder if he ever looks at this site!! LOL!

                      1. re: Mother of four

                        Yes he does read this site......

                        1. re: irwin

                          I've visited this bakery and been very pleased......wish I lived closer to it......

                    2. This small bakery is a real find. As a returning snowbird, I was thrilled to see that it is still here and that Jim, the owner/baker is continuing to produce innovative breads and pastries. This time, we ordered the challah bread which is still the same consistent high quality it was last year. We also tried a slice of the pecan, caramel mousse cake. I do not usually like caramel as it is often too sweet but the contrast of textures with the sweet crunchy pecan and the soft delicate mousse topped with whipping cream was amazing. The blueberry muffin with cream cheese topping was another innovative delight....lots of plump blueberries, just the right amount of cheese cake with a crumb topping.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: Shoshanna88

                        Shoshanna88, I could not agree with your more. Everything I have had has been excellent. I find myself going back a couple times a week for fresh bread, the challah is excellent and the french also. I always pick up an extra little treat for myself and I have never been disappointed. I have tried the muffins, macaroons, assorted cookies, brownies, Italian nougat, carrot cake, and honey buns. The quality has been very consistent. I hope he continues to do well, Sarasota needs a good bakery.

                        1. re: Wallace

                          You're right, never a disappointment!

                          He's on Facebook... A good way to find out what he's up to!

                          1. re: OH2FL

                            Small Batch is a real find in Gulf Gate. There is another "find" Ooh La La, also in Gulf Gate. The best pastries and Baguettes, also Daily Quiche specials and delicious sandwiches made to order on their baked several times a day Baguette. Everything is made from scratch with the best of ingredients; no "frozen dough" here!!!

                            1. re: ospreycove

                              Yes, Ospreycove, I agree. Ooh La La is also excellent and Heavenly Cupcakes is good, too. It is fabulous to have such excellent variety within a few blocks of one another. I get the impression that Ooh La La is thriving but Small Batch is struggling to make it self known. I do not know why that is as both bakeries are very good and have different offerings. As Wallace said, I also really hope Small Batch is successful in Sarasota. Sometimes I am in the mood for a Napolean and head to Ooh La La but sometimes I just want a great slice of carrot cake and Small Batch's is one of the best I have had. It is nice to have the choice and I would not rate one higher than the other. They are both very good.

                              1. re: Shoshanna88

                                Shoshanna88 we agree again. I find the two to have very different styles, OLL being more European. OLL makes a nice fruit tart. I do prefer the bread at Small Batch, but that is my personal preference. My husband raves that it is the best bread he has ever had. It's nice to have quality, locally owned businesses to support.

                                1. re: Wallace

                                  The bread at Small Batch is wonderful, have tried at least five different ones and all delicious. Not so much into pastry but everything in the case is a beautiful creation.

                                2. re: Shoshanna88

                                  Soshanna88, You are correct; the limiting thing about Small Batch is the owner makes his products all day, and if you want to make one trip for various breads, some of his great Danish, etc. you will not see them there as his workload spreads out his handmade products over his retail hours. Maybe I should not want to buy all his great products at one time!!!!! No discipline on my part!!!!

                        2. Folks, we have removed a number of posts from this thread that involved organizing a meet up. Please review our guidelines for organizing events, which you will find here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3676...

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: The Chowhound Team

                            Chowdown was a good time yesterday. This Key Lime Kiss from Small Batch was one of the highlights for me.

                             
                            1. re: CFishman

                              The whole afternoon was a delight for me........

                              1. re: irwin

                                I just had my first bretzel from Small Batch (I think Jim calls them Pretzel Bread) and it was great, a serious competitor to Geier's version. I particularly liked how dense the inside was. Pardon a little reminiscing, but there is a great place in Chicago that specializes in making sandwiches on bretzels called Hannah's Bretzel.

                                http://www.hannahsbretzel.com/

                                 
                                1. re: CFishman

                                  Just went to pick up a loaf of bread today and decided to try a Butter Lemon Wafer cookie! So good...VERY thin and VERY crisp...could have eaten half a dozen!! Now that's a recipe I would love to have! He is also now making soups..today was Onion and a Chicken Noddle that he added fresh dill to...really liked the taste of the Dill, he gave me a taste.

                              2. re: CFishman

                                Still dreaming about that cinnamon almond Danish from OLL!, That was a fun afternoon.

                            2. On a brief visit to the Sarasota area this past week, I checked out three bakeries in Sarasota, and enjoyed all of them. Each is good for certain things, which I'll summarize at the end of this post.

                              C'est La Vie is in downtown Sarasota, on Main Street. This is the only one of the three with lots of seating, both indoor and outdoor, where you can not only get baked goods to go, but sit and be served by waitstaff. However, the service was VERY SLOW (understaffed and underresponsive). This is a French bakery, apparently owned/run by a husband/wife team who are French. They didn't have much in the way of refrigerated pastries, but they had a nice assortment of croissants, brioches, etc. I had a pistachio-almond pastry (raised, like a danish) which I thought was pretty good. (They have a new system in which you have to pay for on-street parking on Main. Tip: There are plenty of spaces with free two-hour parking around the Selby Library, about two blocks walk away. Those spaces may fill up later in the day, but I was there before the library opens at 10, and parking was no problem.)

                              Jim's Small Batch Bakery, the original subject of this topic, is in a strip mall in the Gulf Gate area. There, too, there wasn't much in the way of refrigerated pastries, but they had a nice assortment of croissants and other bread-type pastries. I had a pain de raisin (raisin croissant) and it was outstanding. I went around 9 in the morning (to all of these places), and at Jim's, the pastries were fresh out of the oven, not even in the display case yet. There is a very small amount of indoor seating - a tiny table and some stools at a counter along the wall. This is mostly a take-out place, not really a place where people eat there and hang out, but you could. I thought this was a real gem, and worth supporting.

                              My third stop was Ooh La La Bakery, which is only a block from Jim's Small Batch and is in another strip mall. Ooh La La is another French bakery in which the woman (proprietor?) was French. Ooh La La had by far the biggest selection of refrigerated pastries, including eclairs (filled with your choice of vanilla, chocolate, or coffee pastry cream), mille feuilles (napoleons), baba au rum, etc. I tried several things and they were all pretty good, although nothing really blew me away.

                              So all of these do different things well. If you want the freshest and most delicious croissants and other baked goods, I'd go to Jim's Small Batch. If you want a nice assortment of refrigerated French pastries featuring pastry cream etc, I'd go to Ooh La La. If you want to hang out over a leisurely cup of coffee and pastry (including an outdoor option where you can watch pedestrians on Main Street) or if downtown Sarasota is more convenient for you than Gulf Gate, I'd go to C'est La Vie.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: nsxtasy

                                Stopped at Small Batch yesterday for my lemon tarts and coffee cake. Excellent as usual. I also had a cup of coffee. Excellent. I wanted to try the water bagels but I thought they were pricey at 2.50 for one.

                                1. re: lovespinach

                                  I "cheated on" Jim's Small Batch the other day and had another baker's lemon tart at an event...I was so disappointed - that'll teach me! Jim's is the best for lemon tart!

                                  The hubby and I try to go late every Saturday to get Jim's bagels. They ARE the best! So sorry you didn't try one, especially since they don't cost $2.50 each. They are half that and worth every cent. Maybe the chalkboard was wrong the day you visited. Please try again. SO YUMMY!!!

                              2. I am a tourist here and stopped by this bakery. Everything was excellent and they have two working in the back and a dedicated cashier, and they still looked very busy.

                                Everything was great from what my wife and I tried.

                                Just wanted to update you since there were a lot of negative posts in this thread from a certain poster, but no recent update.