There hasnt been this much lovin from the oven since the Holsum Bakery blanketed South Florida with eau de carb.
Holsum ended 71 years of baking in the sun in 2005, but its aromas are forever entwined with memories of the Coppertone Girl baring her buns over Biscayne Boulevard and Flipper jumping in his end-zone tank at the Orange Bowl every time the Miami Dolphins scored.
Today, a new crop of bakers is harkening back to those seemingly simpler times. With homey interiors and an emphasis on local sourcing, independently owned bakery-cafés are proliferating faster than yeast cells feeding on sugar.
Their growing presence has brought bread back in a big way, reminding us that no matter how big our city gets, we can still enjoy smelling like a small town. Here are four worth checking out:
Acme Bakery & Coffee
If Dick, Jane and Spot were hungry, this is where theyd go.
Big windows let the afternoon sun stream in over the white farm table that dominates one side of the tiny Midtown eatery with an old timey vibe. Visitors are greeted at the door by baskets of baguettes, flute round loaves and cottage loaves along with crooner tunes by Nat King Cole, Etta James and The Ronettes.
Head here for sweet Sally Lunn buns, open-face Reuben sandwiches with homemade sauerkraut on thick slabs of rye, perfect apple pies and bottles of Sun Drop, Moxie and other vintage sodas. Tops on the lunch menu is the BLT, with juicy tomatoes, bacon, lettuce, avocado and pesto mayo on buttery Miami country bread.
Be sure to grab one of the days fresh-baked loaves to take home. (Apricot, fig and walnut sourdough was the hot item on our visit.)
Next to The Cheese Course in the base of an apartment building, 2-month-old Acme is the product of Alejandro Ortiz and his partners, Aniece Meinhold and Cesar Zapata, the same group that created Phuc Yea! and The Federal.
Using his own pre-ferments and Miami-based starters, Ortiz handcrafts the loaves with ingredients, including eggs and milk, from Florida farms. His wife, Alysia Ortiz, helps with the front of house and the line of jams, peppery pickles and ketchup made in-house.
Bread is the main event, but lunch offerings, such as heirloom tomato salad and spicy corn chowder, compliment the carbs. Theres also all-day breakfast biscuits and gravy, cinnamon toast, farmer-cheese pancakes alongside Miamis own Panther Coffee.
Acme Bakery & Coffee, 3451 NE First Ave., Miami (Midtown); 7:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday; 786-507-5799, myacmebakery.com.
Lee & Maries Cakery
This is what real bake sales once were made of: Meyer lemon bars, snicker doodles, pecan sandies and Bundt cakes.
Even that Southern favorite, the hummingbird cake with layers of pecans, mashed bananas, crushed pineapple and cream cheese frosting has been revived in this cozy yet sophisticated bakery at the base of the sleek Continuum building on the southern tip of South Beach.
With its whitewashed wood tables, antique cupboards and marzipan cakes in the windows, Lee & Maries is as pretty as a girl in a pinafore. Light jazz hums inside, while wood tables with umbrellas and wicker chairs spill out onto the sidewalk.
The bakery-café, open since early September, serves fancy sandwiches, salads and other savories (chicken curry salad on ciabatta with apples and golden raisins, Caesar salad with brioche croutons and a smoky chorizo manchego cheese quiche, among others), but its the sweets that scream for attention.