When I moved here ten years ago, I had a hard time finding a bakery-cafe like the one I used to spend weekends at back in New York. My husband and I would show up at our favorite spot on the Upper West Side and order baguettes with jam and bowls of café au lait as big as the Sunday paper. After we read the news, looked through the wedding announcements for folks we might know, and decided what galleries or shows were worth a visit, we'd go back to the counter and order a bowl of soup with homemade bread or an assortment of salads to eat as we did a bit of work.
Over the past decade, Denver's bakery-cafe scene has improved considerably, though not every part of town has a place to call its own. The area around Regis University was one such neighborhood -- until The Noshery opened this summer, that is. Founded by Colorado native Andrea Knight, The Noshery is proving to be a good addition to Denver -- whether or not you live near the Regis neighborhood. Find out more about the Noshery when my review of the place is posted here tomorrow, and in the meantime, keep reading for five more bakery-cafes that are worthy of your time. (They're presented in alphabetical order, and D Bar is noticeably absent from this list -- that's because the eatery won't open in its new new location until next month.)
See also: Best Pie 2014 -- bang!
5) Cake Crumbs
2216 Kearney Street
Yes, cakes take the cake here, whether elaborate fondant creations or cupcakes with swirls of buttercream. But Cake Crumbs is far more than a bakery: It's a gathering place for residents of Park Hill, who are just as likely to walk or bike as drive here before settling in to drink coffee, eat and chat with the friend they're sure to bump into. In addition to sweet treats, look for chicken salad sandwiches, pulled pork and chickpea-tuna salads.
1701 Wynkoop Street
Okay, Mercantile Dining & Provision is more than a bakery-café. But Alex Seidel of Fruition has filled one corner of Union Station with a restaurant/market that beckons to anyone wanting to while away the time with good food and a paper. At night, the dining room fills with guests in search of this award-winning chef's take on petrale sole and chicken roulade cordon bleu. But during the day, it's a lovely place for housemade pastries, coffee from locally roasted Commonwealth Coffee and sandwiches.
1552 East 17th Avenue
Given Mary Nguyen's other restaurants, including P17, her revamped European bistro down the street, you might not think of Olive & Finch as a place to pop in with your computer or something to read. But in addition to egg hashes, salads and an assortment of sandwiches, the kitchen bakes muffins, scones and coffee cake to pair with your java - or green juice, if that's more your style.
Keep reading for two more of our favorite bakery-cafes.
278 Fillmore Street
Due to its Cherry Creek North location and second-story address, this bakery-café flies beneath the radar. But to those in the know, it's as much as place for soups and sandwiches as it is for gingerbread cookies, apple streusel bars and hand pies.
2418 West 32nd Avenue
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With a wide selection of sandwiches, from tarragon chicken salad to roast beef with horseradish cream, lunch is just as tempting at Wooden Spoon as the baked goods at the counter. And that's saying something, given the flakiness of the pear almond pastries, the tenderness of the lemon blackberry scones. Just don't expect to settle in for the morning; given the eatery's petite size, a sign alerts guests that this is a "computer and tablet free dining room."