DAMN FINE BAKERY WITH NEIGHBORHOOD FEEL
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As I’ve written in the past, one of the things I miss about living in Brooklyn are the neighborhood butchers and bakers. I know that supermarkets are convenient, giving you everything under one roof, but there’s something nice about feeling like you know the person cutting your meat or baking your doughnuts. So I was excited when I heard about Bakery King, a tiny little bakery that recently opened in Green Valley.
Sadly, Bakery King isn’t the type of mom-and-pop operation I was hoping to discover. It is, however, a damn fine bakery with great products at very reasonable prices.
Bakery King, it turns out, is a company that’s been operating in Las Vegas for close to 15 years. But until recently, it was a wholesale operation supplying baked goods to Strip properties including Mandalay Bay, Luxor and Hilton Grand Vacations. They recently decided their commercial bakery wasn’t large enough to accommodate the operation. And when they went searching for a second facility, they found a place on the corner of Sunset Road and Green Valley Parkway. They use the back portion as a bakery where they make their doughnuts, and the front as a retail operation that sells all of their products.
That spot is an unassuming little space sandwiched between a barber shop and a smoke shop. It’s only open from 6 a.m. to noon, and features a single display counter and a refrigerator filled with soft drinks. While I’ll admit the space didn’t impress me much, that really didn’t matter. My eyes were immediately drawn to that display counter, which was packed with all sorts of mouth-watering pastries. They included a nice assortment of muffins, doughnuts, doughnut holes, Danish and other sweets that I don’t even know the names of. They also carry a handful of fresh breads and bagels.
None of the prices are listed. But for the most part items run between 75 cents and $2. When I asked the woman behind the counter what the most expensive item was, she pointed to a massive, cake-sized doughnut, which was priced at $4. Traditional doughnuts, however, are just 80 cents.
You can also get your choice of a doughnut, bagel, Danish or muffin, accompanied by a cup of coffee, for $1.50 - which is a bargain when you consider the muffins alone will cost you the same amount. My order, consisted of three very large muffins, an asiago bagel, a large cheese Danish, one lone doughnut hole, an egg sandwich (their only savory item), a large loaf of bread and a bottle of Coke. The price: $16.20.
All of my choices were extremely good. Top among them were the muffins. I sampled three varieties. The banana nut was probably the best, followed by lemon and then chocolate chip. None was too sweet, and they were all packed with flavor, moist and delicious. I was also extremely impressed with the Danish. It was a large, square variety known as a “pocket Danish” -a reference to the way the corners are folded over the filling. That cheese filling was creamy, sweet and very tasty. And while I didn’t try a full doughnut, the munchkin-sized variety was good enough that I can wholeheartedly recommend them.
The breads are almost as good. The large loaf of pre-sliced, Texas-style egg bread was soft and just slightly sweet. I was happy eating it with butter, but my wife is already salivating about the idea of using it for French toast. And the bagel was pretty good - admittedly not up to this former New Yorker’s high standards, but as good as I’ve found out here in the desert. The egg sandwich was fairly basic, but it hit the spot.
The woman who took my order was extremely friendly. A veteran of several other local bakeries, she seemed genuinely excited to be distributing such quality products, and a little in awe of the low prices. And even though there was no actual mom or pop in this shop, her pleasant demeanor still gave the place a neighborhood feel.
With baked goods this good, I’m not surprised they’re used in Strip resorts. And I can only imagine that if you ordered them there, you’d be paying a hell of a lot more.
Bakery King, 2833 N. Green Valley Parkway, 462-5363. Read more about the Las Vegas dining scene on Al Mancini’s blog, www.almancini.net and follow him on Twitter @almancinivegas.