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Aug 20, 2012 11:50 AM

What's Wrong with Raleigh? Why No Interesting Bakeries?

Guglhupf, Mad Hatter's, Scratch, Daisy Cakes, Loaf, Monuts Donuts, and now Hummingbirds -- all unique bakeries in Durham. In Raleigh - Nada. Only the justly criticized CupCake place on Glenwood. Raleigh's really a wasteland when it comes to interesting baked goods. Hard to find anything that isn't saccharine sweet with tons of icing dumped on top.

What am I missing? Isn't this a great opportunity for an entrepreneur?

Hmmm. Come to think of it, there is Hereghty's but it really isn't innovative like the Durham artisan bakeries. And I still ache for that wonderful long gone Gourmandises de France. It was the best.

But, come on.. you artisan bakers, roll on down I-40. We need you.

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  1. Raleigh isn't a wasteland it is just that durham's are publicized. Raleigh has bakeries Hereghty to name one.

    Check through some of these..!

    3 Replies
    1. re: burgeoningfoodie

      Yes, there are some ethnic bakeries, but I'm looking for baked goods a la the Scratch, Loaf, Daisy Cake, Hummingbird mode. Nothing in that artisan, creative, not too sweet, sometimes savory style that Durham has in abundance.

      And yes, I also agree that a great artisan bread like Rue Cler's baguettes and batards would be fabulous.

      1. re: TerryG

        Well what you describe is Durham and that is reflected in the type of businesses we have.

        1. re: TerryG

          Terry, I've wondered about this too. Raleigh certainly has the population to support this type of endeavor.

          I have known a couple of people who have opened or contemplated opening food businesses in Raleigh. The permitting process was very unfriendly to business. Months and months of waiting for inspection just to be told info which contradicted the prior directive.

          Perhaps Durham makes the process easier? Several folks I've known just didn't have the funds to be in limbo for a year or more waiting for the space to finally be approved.

      2. I don't even care about interesting bakeries. I just want a boulangerie - somewhere to get a nice loaf of bread. I used to love the Wellspring back in the day.....and the Big Sky (I think it was called) in Cameron Village.....

        3 Replies
        1. re: cackalackie

          Has anything shown up at any of the farmers markets that might be the start of someone trying to start a bread bakery?

          I know la farm is in cary.

          1. re: burgeoningfoodie

            La Farm and Annelore's German Bakery are the only ones I see at the Raleigh Farmer's Market. Not sure about any of the smaller markets around town. La Farm is way off in the wilds of Cary and Annelore's doesn't have a store. Guess I still have the bias for Gourmandises de France, but I was never a big fan of La Farm.

            1. re: TerryG

              I'm not a huge fan of La Farm's breads either, although some of their pastries are good. The town of Cary is (hopefully) approving construction on a new two-story building housing a German bakery (Annelore's). It will be located just south of downtown Cary on Chatham St. next to Chocolate Smiles. Story is here:

        2. Wholeheartedly agree with you TerryG and cackalackie. I really wish we could get a great loaf of bread and and/or an awesome baked treat.

          One place that promises to fill this void is Yellow Dog Bread Co. They are going in just north of the Krispy Kreme, by Raleigh City Farm, along with Market and Escazu.

          I also used to hear whispers of Crumb opening an actual location in Raleigh.

          1 Reply
          1. re: brsmith2

            Funny that it has been almost a year to the day. Yellow Dog grand opening is Sept. 6th. Check out their FB page for me more info.

          2. Yesterday someone mentioned a new bakery downtown. It went in the spot which was a German bakery on that little street across from Artspace, the block where the Nepalese/Tibetan shop is. She said the husband of the German bakery died and the wife's heart was no longer in it so she sold it. The new place is Polish iirc, and said to have terrific cheese danish and sweet rolls.

            1. Speaking as a complete outsider to the Raleigh area, might part of it be the lack of culinary programs in local colleges? Charlotte with Johnson and Wales, and Greensboro with a decent community college program both have several bakeries.

              7 Replies
              1. re: Nocturnalbill

                Wake Tech in the Raleigh area has a pretty decent culinary program. Raleigh has a number of colleges and a university but I'm not familiar with their offerings.

                1. re: Nocturnalbill

                  I *really* doubt that professional culinary schools have anything at all to do with the absence or presence of traditional bakeries. I don't recall any pro training programs existing in the small towns of mid-New England or central new Jersey yet every neighborhood had multiple bakeries, some of them outstanding.

                  Before the current foodie craze, there weren't too many culinary schools around, respected or otherwise, yet people still managed to open restaurants, bakeries, pizza shops, etc. Even today, a culinary degree is a guarantee of absolutely nothing except a ton of student debt. So no, I can't even begin to see how one is connected to the other.

                  1. re: rockycat

                    I would guess the bakeries you mention in New England and elsewhere are long established, perhaps for several generations? Historically speaking, the entire Northeast area of the country has more of a bakery cultural due to the specific immigrant groups and their needs. In the past in the South (generally speaking) if you ate bread it was homemade. Often that would be cornbread because cornmeal was cheaper. Biscuits would have been the most popular wheat bread and of course nobody bought biscuits. I don't know if buying bread was popular until sliced sandwich bread became available.

                    Back to the question at hand I would guess leasing costs and permitting process, the same hurdles in Charlotte. Luckily we've had a few open up. There is another one supposedly opening up on N. Graham I think called 4th Ward Bakery. And we have some sellers at the farmers markets. The presence of trained bakers from the culinary schools certainly can't hurt.

                    1. re: billyjack

                      And don't discount the fact that most people I know actually think that the cakes and cookies from the supermarket bakeries and the warehouse clubs are really good.

                      1. re: rockycat

                        Yes, Rockycat, seems the foodie spirit is weak in Raleigh. North Raleigh in particular is still a bit of a wasteland. Save us from yet another tavern and sports bar. But they all seem to thrive.

                        1. re: TerryG

                          I don't want to get into a Raleigh vs. Durham food debate, but Raleigh's food scene (outside of the downtown area) is one of the big reasons that I almost never leave Durham to have a meal in Raleigh.

                          1. re: ToothTooth

                            Yep. Downtown Raleigh has some signs of foodie life, but still no bakeries.