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Rhode Island’s Best Bakeries

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Ah the neighborhood bakery. The idea started back when towns had a communal oven. Everyone would bring their loaves and bake them next to the mill. Much has changed, and much has stayed the same. We love that bakeries remain a constant in our lives. We set out to find 5 examples of all we love about bakeries and came back with these...


Seven Stars, Rumford

This is our overall go-to bakery spot when we need a box of pastry to be proud of. The day that Seven Stars opened was a red letter day for us. The first locale on Hope Street, in Providence, was right next door. We quickly wore a path between home and the front door. In the days since, they have expanded to the West Side and East Providence. We picked the Rumford location because we love the idea of an amazing bakery located in tthe same place where Rumford Baking Powder was produced. What should you expect from Seven Stars? Top notch, upscale breads and pasteries are the order of the day here. If you're looking for pizza strips, this isn't the bakery you're looking for...to quote a Jedi master. We could cover any number of amazing products they make but we always settle on some version of a croissant. Crisp. Chewy. Slightly sweet. Little burnt edges holding caramelized flavor. These light and fluffy babies have it all. We shift between the classic plain and the chocolate almond. The chocolate almond, in particular, hold some spots that almost appear a little too done. Trust us, this is where the flavor is. We also love their foccacia bread. It make a perfect accompaniment to dinner with a little homemade dipping oil on the side. Rumford Center, 20 Newman Ave. 521-2200 (all locations) www.sevenstarsbakery.com

LaSalle, Providence

This is our favorite "bakery as restaurant" location. The story of LaSalle Bakery is one of love. The original owner handed the business down to an apprentice he had seen grow from the lowest rungs to his most passionate employee. And that love is on display every day at LaSalle. Whether it is an elaborate cake or the perfect pizza strip, a humble spinach pie or the most modern of salads -- passion is what you taste. We love LaSalle as a place to grab and go tasty prepared food for lunch or dinner. From the calzones to the sandwiches to the salads, we are usually impressed with the selections here. If you need a platter for your office lunch, the can do that for you too. The very Rhode Island pizza strip is a real star here though. The dough is crisp on the bottom and begins to soften as it moves up to a balanced (acidity/sweetness) sauce. It's some of the best around. 993 Smith St. 831-9563, www.lasallebakery.net

Ellie's Bakery, Providence

This is our future star. When assessing a new restaurant or retail food business, you always need to take pedigree into consideration...especially here in Rhode Island. This is a tough food culture to crack. We're educated by young, fearless chefs about the newest and tastiest, but sometimes Rhode Islanders end up at their old favorites. So it is with Ellie's Bakery. The amazing team behind the sweets at Gracie's got together and have opened a tour de force of a bakery on the first floor of the Biltmore parking garage (and can we just say bravo to whoever came up with the idea of using this space?) With the food and business minds of the entire Gracie's team--from owner to chef--this one is destined to be a winner. This is what most of the other little cafes in Downcity will be shooting for: delicious breads; fresh coffee and amazing little pastries. In the short time that Ellie's has been open we have journeyed there three times and each time been more and more impressed. We just need to cut to the chase and talk about the macarons. They're classic. From the"feet" to the fillings to the flavor of the meringue, the macaron addict of our duo claims these are some of the best she's ever had. Get down there and try some. Then go back a few days later and have a totally different selection! 61 Washington St. 228-8118, www.facebook.com/ElliesBakery

Le Favorite, Warwick

This is our got to spot for cookies. Bakery cookies hold a special place in our hearts. Over the holidays a family member who had transplanted to the West Coast was waxing poetic about the old Korb's Bakery cookies and the connection to childhood memories. We remember and, happily, have begun making new memories at Le Favorite. We are sure that there are some amazing savory items at Le Favorite, we just haven't gotten there yet! When you need that perfect cookie, this is the place to visit. Now, here is some sage advice for you: you can't get a good cookie when it's too humid or when it's raining. The extra moisture in the air doesn't allow for the crisp edges that make those creamy centers so good. On a dry day, however, Le Favorite does a cookie about as good as you can. Large chocolate chip, peanut butter and oatmeal raisin cookies are baked fresh everyday.

We gravitate towards the chocolate chip and the peanut butter. The former feature a good chip-to-dough ratio and the latter come with large, random chunks of peanut butter cups baked into the tops. We don't like too many chips in our chocolate chip cookies and Le Favorite comes as close to perfect, for us, as we've found. 951 Namquid Dr. 463-3133, www.lefavoritebakery.com


DeLuise Bakery, Cranston

This last one came as a shock and a pleasant surprise. Our list was going to look drastically different, truth be told. Right under Seven Stars would've been Zaccagninni's on Oaklawn Ave in Cranston. Imagine our shock as we found them closed and in their place, DeLuise Bakery. It obviously had been several months since our last visit and we found the former owners retired and a new regime in place. But something was strange...the place looked exactly the same; the food looked exactly the same; and then we saw a small letter from the new owners, DeLuise Bakery of Providence. They talked about respect for Zaccagnnini's place in Cranston history and their desire to soften the blow. So, an already well--70 years, well--established bakery adopted the recipes of the late Zaccagnnini's and began a hybrid of the two bakeries that became better than the sum of its parts. All of our favorites--the round party-style pizza, the frosted brownies--were here and right next to them were new favorites like the DeLuise frosted doughnuts. We have a lot of respect for DeLuise Bakery. You don't hear too many ego-less stories these days. It was refreshing. 701 Oaklawn Ave. 943-4567


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