A Superior bakery saw its plans to open a satellite shop in Duluth derail last month but owners are still looking for a place to bring donuts back to Lakeside.
Donuts are coming back to Lakeside. A Dozen Excuses bakery in Superior has leased space to open a satellite location at 4328 E. Superior St. in Duluth. Johnson’s Bakery closed its Lakeside outlet in March 2018 leaving the neighborhood without an independent donut shop for the first time since 1955.
This edition of the PDD quiz celebrates the season of gluttony with a look at local bakeries. Indulge your sweet tooth and check it out!
The next PDD quiz, on this month’s local headlines, will be published on Nov. 25. Please email question suggestions to Alison Moffat at [email protected] by Nov. 21.
Duluth’s Best Bread will open a European style bakery-cafe on July 7 at Endion Station Public House in Canal Park. The cafe will operate from 7:30 to 11 a.m. Fridays through Sundays, before Endion Station’s typical business hours.
Duluth’s Best Bread at Endion Station will serve sweet pastries including French-style croissants, monster cinnamon and caramel pecan rolls, and homemade Pop Tarts. It will also serve new savory items, including a classic quiche with bacon and ham.
Johnson’s Bakery announced Saturday on Facebook it will close its Lakeside location. Operations will continue at the original Johnson’s Bakery in Duluth’s West End.
“It is with regret that we must close our retail location in Lakeside,” the Facebook post stated. “We have GREATLY appreciated our loyal customers; our Lakeside employees have LOVED working with you. Many of you have been so kind to those employees as they have made different life transitions.”
An exact closing date has not been determined, but the Facebook post indicates it will be “no later than the end of April.”
“This has been the most difficult and painful decisions of our lives. Words cannot express our pain and sorrow,” Eileen Brown wrote on the How Sweet it is Cakes Facebook page today.
“There are a number of circumstances that have led up to this decision including but not limited to a significant decline in sales since we’ve moved to our new location, increased cost of product and labor, my and my husband’s health as well as numerous factors that we won’t detail here.”
Like many young entrepreneurs creating their own opportunities in Duluth, Amanda Belcher hasn’t had a straightforward career trajectory. She started studying exercise physiology at the College of St. Scholastica. Instead of continuing on to graduate school, she decided to become a professional baker.
Her Zenith Bread Project produces sweet treats sold at Amity Coffee, Duluth Coffee Company and Snooty Fox Tea Shop. Bagels and English muffins are also available at Whole Foods Co-op. Bent Paddle Brewing‘s taproom occasionally serves Belcher’s soft pretzels with beer, and Blacklist Artisan Ales features her doughnuts and pastries on Saturdays.
The business with the audacity to call itself Duluth’s Best Bread clearly is living up to its name. Not only does it have the best bread, it’s Duluth’s best general bakery according to Perfect Duluth Day’s poll. It took the title of Perfect Bakery with 38 percent of the vote among the final four.
The relative newcomer celebrated its one-year anniversary in September. Brothers Michael and Robert Lillegard, a trained mathematician and a writer, respectively, founded the nontraditional bakery.
Duluth’s Best Bread has limited storefront hours and a subscription service. It features a small menu of products carefully perfected by Michael, such as sourdough bread, croissants, cinnamon rolls and pretzels.
It’s a highly subjective exercise. It may be that a fruit tart warms your heart or a cake donut pleases your gut. Whatever the case, it’s time to make a show of support for your favorite purveyor of sweet and glutenous treats.
The nominations are in. Now it’s time to vote and have a say. What’s the Perfect Duluth-area bakery?
This is a runoff poll, which means options will be whittled down over time. We started with 14 nominees; it’s now down to the Final Four: Duluth’s Best Bread, Johnson’s Bakery, Lake Superior Bakehouse and Zenith Bread Project.
This poll is now closed. The results were:
Duluth’s Best Bread – 38 percent
Zenith Bread Project – 27 percent
Johnson’s Bakery – 20 percent
Lake Superior Bakehouse – 15 percent
The decline of the corner bakery in modern America could be considered one of the greatest food-related tragedies of our time. An 85 percent decrease in standalone retail bakeries occurred in the United States over the past 40 years, according to Retail Bakers of America.
With this in mind, it seems important to show our local bakeries some love. That’s why our latest poll will decide the perfect Duluth bakery.
Nominate your favorite by commenting on this post. It will be a purely subjective poll, of course. Comparing an old-school institution stocked with traditional sweets like Long Johns and Bismarcks and a newfangled shop specializing in artisan breads and delicate pastries is a bit like comparing apples to oranges, but the idea is to choose an overall favorite.
Feel free to nominate bakeries that double as coffee shops and serve food or the supermarket variety, if you’re so inclined.
After much geographical consideration, we’ve determined any bakery within 16 miles of the Aerial Lift Bridge is eligible for nomination. That means establishments in Superior, Hermantown, Proctor and the many bordering townships qualify for nomination, but more distant places like Two Harbors and Cloquet do not.
Once we have a good pool of nominees, the poll will commence.
The majority of corner bakeries have been casualties of the modern demands of life, which prioritize convenience over quality. A pair of Duluth entrepreneurs is turning the corner bakery model on its head with a limited menu of artisan products, a mix of wholesale, retail and subscription sales and just the right amount of wit.