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