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Mmm…Yes! 10 best Greensboro bakeries

by Randomly compiled Brian Clarey

Spring Garden Bakery & Coffee

1932 Spring Garden St.; 336.272.8199

This funky little enclave just a short ride down Spring Garden from UNCG is known to college students and denizens of the nearby Lindley Park as a one-stop shop for coffee, baked goods and everything else that gets us going in the morning (or the afternoon). Their pastries can also be found at Tate Street Coffee, Pepper Moon Catering and other places that have an appreciation for the chef de patisserie’s art.

Maxie B’s

2403 Battleground Ave., #7; 336.288.9811

5700 W. Market St., E; 336.294.6058

Maxie B’s, one of the surprisingly large number of Triad businesses named after dogs, is one of the reasons that God created cake holes in the first place. Their cakes – strawberry buttercream, pumpkin chocolate, eggnog pound cake and the Krispy Kreme layer cake, to name a few – have earned spots as local delicacies since they opened back on Sept. 11, 2001. Bad call on the opening date, but the volcano cake is a work of sheer brilliance.

Café Carolina & Bakery

803 Friendly Center Road; 336.854.8130

We like Café Carolina not just because our graphic designer Kenny Lindsay used to work there (and bring in bags of day old breads, bagels, muffins and what have you), but also because it’s one of the few places in the Friendly Center area that serves breakfast on weekends and has a wireless signal for all the laptop junkies.

Cheesecakes by Alex

315 S. Elm St.; 336.273.0970

We love Alex Amoroso, the affable owner and creative force behind Cheesecakes by Alex, because he was a good sport about a headline we once wrote about him that some might have construed as crass. But we also love him for his great coffee, his free and reliable Wi-Fi signal and, most important of all, his crème brulee cheesecake, which some of us think about in our idle hours at least once a week. Don’t ask him how he does it – cheesecake techniques are trade secrets.

El Buen Gusto

3006 Spring Garden St.; 336.851.0737

Cooling racks as tall as a man stand on the floor of El Buen Gusto each morning, filled with pan dulces, doughnuts, breads and cookies, waiting for delivery to the area’s bodegas. In glass cases to the side, bakery trays overflow with doughy Hispanic sugar bombs like traditional pan dulce, slices of egg bread smeared with sugar and cream. Located in a strip mall on the corner of Spring Garden Street and Holden Road next to a Western wear zapateria and a peluqueria (hair salon), El Buen Gusto caters to the local Hispanic population looking for a taste of home (they even sell phone cards) and gringos taking a walk on the wild side.

Grateful Bread

1506 N. Main St., High Point; 336.884.3566

The women at Grateful Bread in High Point don’t owe much to the world’s greatest jam band save for the name, the bandanas they wear on their heads hippie-style and, perhaps, the refrain from the Dead’s famous cover of Harry Belafonte’s “Women are Smarter.” That’s right, that’s right. Baked goods like muffins, cookies and scones and a wide array of whole-grain breads (try the birdseed) fill the shop with toasty aromas from the early morning on. At noontime the café serves up one of the best lunches in High Point, with homemade soups, creative sandwiches and fresh salads.

Ganache Bakery & Café

403 N. Elm St.; 336.230.2253

It’s okay to have sticky fingers at Ganache, the bakery and restaurant on Elm Street where they could perhaps hire a full-time employee to clean the looky-loos’ fingerprints off the glass dessert case. We’ve recently discovered the Bailey’s Irish Crème cake with a frosting made from the versatile liqueur between layers of chocolate cake. But we’re thinking of switching over to the lemon-pineapple cake for the summer.

The Fresh Market

628 Green Valley Road, # 500; 336.272.1338

3708 Lawndale Drive; 336.282.4832

5609 W. Friendly Ave.; 336.855.6114

We generally lean towards smaller, locally owned businesses in this section of the paper (being one ourselves) but there is no denying the drool-inducing powers of the bakery counter at the Fresh Market. And they’re pretty loose with the freebies here, so if you ask a couple of questions you’re likely to get a taste of, say, their puffy butter croissants or pillow cookies (that come stuffed with things like almond paste and brownie batter). The menu runs from a heart-shaped chocolate truffle to fresh-baked Bavarian pretzels with everything in between.

Simple Kneads

227 S. Elm St.; 336.370.4446

Tucked into an alley off downtown’s busiest thoroughfare is one of the city’s not-so-well-kept secrets, the artisan bakery Simple Kneads. They use spelt flour instead of wheat; it’s more healthful, easier to digest and has a richer flavor, the better to lessen the guilt when bingeing on their cookies. We dig their bread here, too, like traditional challah, true foccacia and rustic French loaves that make the alley smell like bakers’ heaven.

Panera

3908 W. Market St.; 336.323.0930

4203 W. Wendover Ave.; 336.834.0085

2645 Lawndale Drive; 336.545.8912

Again, we like to cover the local angle when we can, but we have to give props to the chains when they do it right. When Panera came along it solved a dilemma: how to eat a healthy lunch when you’re pressed for time and on a budget. Their success is due in no small part to their restaurant-quality breads like sesame semolina, sunflower and asiago cheese. Good bagels and pastries too.

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