A Sneak Peek at Ann Arbor’s Newest Bakery and Cafe

. December 15, 2016.
Avalon's bread
Avalon's bread

Avalon Cafe and Kitchen, the next contender in the farm-to-table scene in Tree Town?

Today is the grand opening of the Detroit bread staple Avalon opening their first Ann Arbor location at 120 E Liberty (at the former location of Mezzevino). The company’s move to town follows a recent move into Detroit Metro Airport— an added bonus for carb-enthusiasts who want something to look forward to among all the fast food chains for your next flight.

The bakery began rising in 1997, when Avalon opened their first brick and mortar West Willis St. in downtown Detroit. While many people were concerned the  small business wouldn’t thrive in an area experiencing urban blight, but Avalon became a success because they have shown a dedication to their company principals.

Avalon's front cafe for baked goods and tea and coffee.

Avalon’s front cafe for baked goods and tea and coffee.

Self-rising values

What makes Avalon unique is their commitment the environment. The bakery only use organic organic flours for their breads, demonstrating a responsibility to the environment and the community. Their values (earth, community, employees) have resonated with their patrons, making Avalon successful in Detroit and the region.

CEO Jackie Victor got her start as a baker in Ann Arbor’s co-op Wildflour Bakery during college. Her connection to Wildflour, coupled with and a significant portion of Avalon’s bread sales coming from the area, made Ann Arbor an easy choice for an expansion. Avalon also recently partnered with Mighty Good Coffee, echoing the company’s interest in local goods and produce.

The main lounge space.

The main lounge space.

Bread and butter

While Avalon is opening up in the former location of Mezzevino, the bakery has completely renovated the space into a hybrid of a cafe, bakery, lounge, bar and restaurant. Avalon will serve a full menu, emphasizing bread, of course. A few adventurous options include a Trout Reuben alongside other New American classics like fried chicken and avocado toast. Head chef Cory Beattie says that he is excited to be serving the full menu, and suspects Avalon Cafe and Kitchen could be the next hot brunch spot.

By the door are the grab and go options.

By the door are the grab and go options.

The main dining room.

The main dining room.

Time will tell exactly how the space will be defined, but for now let’s get into the good stuff: the food.

Cranberry Walnut toast with house-made hazelnut spread and strawberries.

Cranberry Walnut toast with house-made hazelnut spread and strawberries.

I’m not crazy on Nutella, so I had the toast on its own. Their spread was more crumbly than smooth, like homemade peanut butter. The toast was everything you want in toast— a perfect harmony of a crunchy bite and satisfying chew. The surprise of the cranberry added a little sweetness to go with the salty butter.

Holiday snow mounds.

Holiday snow mounds.

Holiday snow mounds, which are similar to Italian wedding cookies, are light and a little crunchy with powdered sugar on top. Often cookies like these can be very dense with over-worked dough, but these were as powdery and light, as one would hope.

Salted chocolate chip cookie.

Salted chocolate chip cookie.

The sea salt chocolate chip cookie was recommended to me by the baristas,  With a great crunch, the minimally-chewy cookie was well suited for dipping in tea or coffee. The salt added a little intrigue, compared to the standard chocolate chip, and the chocolate was rich and natural—  not at all waxy.  

This location serves a full menu and drinks, but it seems that the breads are the real star. We’re happy to see this addition to the Ann Arbor food scene and are curious to see what they do next.  

Trending

Casablanca: Comfortable, Down-To-Earth Moroccan Cuisine

Casablanca, on Washtenaw, close to Downtown Ypsilanti, has a comfortable, down-to-earth atmosphere, hiding it’s 35-year-ago provenance as a Taco Bell. The manager/owner, Mohammad Mohammad, is hands-on, ensuring satisfaction for each customer, assuring that each dish placed on the table is properly presented. The abundant natural light from ample windows gives the dining area a warm,

Cullen Washington, Jr.’s Meditations On Interconnectedness, Vivility, Democracy And Inclusion

In Ancient Greece, the agora was a central public space, meaning “gathering place” or “assembly.” The agora served as a political, commercial and social hub and was also where Socrates found himself in trouble because of his philosophical inquisitions. In The Public Square, an exhibit on view at the University of Michigan Museum of Art

Third Monk Brewery: Empowering Local Performers With Licensing Agreements

Jeff Robinson can hear the music of the brew. After working as an audio engineer for nearly 30 years, the owner of South Lyon’s Third Monk Brewing doesn’t see that career as dissimilar: “…malt is the bass,” he says, “and hops are the treble, and the yeast is the mastering. I can take components of

Courtroom installation explores what is fair and equitable in the legal system

We human beings are a storytelling species. Our social institutions— religious, legal and cultural— are based on narratives that may be fanciful or fact-based or influenced by precedent. But they are also ever-evolving. Throughout the winter and spring of 2020, Courtney McClellan, this year’s Roman J. Witt Artist in Residence at the University of Michigan