Few things in life are more satisfying that freshly baked desserts.
Holiday baking season is around the corner, but if you want to avoid heating up your kitchen during the dog days of summer, Michiana has dozens of different, excellent bakeries to explore. Whether you are someone who is looking to have a wedding catered, or you want a quick snack before work, these five bakeries are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Sean Wojtkowski, owner of Indulgence, has been baking for about 30 years, but when he developed a wheat allergy several years ago, he knew he would have to do something different.
That is when he decided to change his dessert recipes at Indulgence in Mishawaka into gluten-free pastries.
“Part of what sets us apart [from other bakeries] is the fact that a good amount of our desserts are gluten free and dairy free,” Wojtkowski said. “I wasn’t really content with giving up some of my favorite things [baked goods], so since we had already dabbled in [gluten-free desserts], it wasn’t hard for us to just go with it and start changing some of the [desserts] without changing the flavor profile.”
Wojtkowski said that not all of the desserts in the case are labeled as gluten free because of the perception that gluten free food does not taste as good as food made with gluten, but the flavor and texture change noted in the desserts is mostly imperceptible.
Inside the suite with Indulgence is Sassy’s Burger Shack, another of Wojtkowski’s ventures. Customers at Sassy’s are able to order all but three items on the menu as gluten free.
Indulgence is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Wednesday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday; and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. The store is located at 303 Florence Ave. in Granger.
With a story of successful entrepreneurship, Gigi’s Cupcakes is the epitome of the American dream.
The cupcakes at Gigi’s are a frosting lover’s dream, with about a 1:1 frosting to cake ratio.
Owners Dee and Rich Florea became enamored with Gigi’s when the tasted them at their niece’s wedding, according to the company’s website. They were so smitten they decided to open their own franchise in Granger.
Orders for cupcakes may be placed online and picked up the store. Gigi’s also offers catering for weddings, baby showers, corporate events and graduations.
From humble beginnings as a single store in Nashville, there are currently 100 Gigi’s Cupcakes franchise stores around the U.S., with plans to add more.
The Granger location is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The store is located at 314 W. Cleveland Road in Granger.
Rise’n Roll Bakery
When it comes to Rise’n Roll doughnuts, the first thing that pops into most people’s minds is the company’s signature cinnamon-caramel yeast doughnuts. But the bakery also offers many different varieties of doughnuts with a multitude of fillings, breads, cookies, cinnamon rolls and pies.
Sue Fuller, owner of the Mishawaka Rise’n Roll location, said she sees a lot of people coming to her location to buy pies and pie slices.
“There used to be Baker’s Square down the road, where you could go in and get a slice of pie and a cup of coffee,” she said. “Some of those customers are discovering they can come in here and have a complimentary cup of coffee, with a purchase, and have a piece of pie!”
Fuller said that Rise’n Roll doughnuts are special because of the size and quality.
“If I packed you a 12-pack of our filled or fancy doughnuts, you actually can feel the weight of the fillings in the doughnuts,” she said. “I can’t remember ever going anywhere else and feeling that.”
The company also has been innovating with cool, new bakery technology, offering ice cream-filled doughnuts.
“We have some of doughnuts that we make the shells, and then we inject them vanilla soft-serve ice cream,” Fuller said. “We have them frozen, and I take a dollar off on those so [customers] can go and take them with them.”
Currently, there are locations in Middlebury, Nappanee, Fort Wayne and Mishawaka.
The Mishawaka Rise’n Roll store is open from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday, and from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. The store is located at 3915 Grape Road in Mishawaka.
On a perfect Saturday morning in July, there is a line of people waiting to order inside of Baker’s Rhapsody in downtown Dowagiac.
“It’s all kind of a blur at this point,” said Jordan Anderson, owner of Baker’s Rhapsody. “It’s been a busy day. It has been great!”
The case at the counter is filled with cookies, brownies, Danishes and cupcakes. On shelves high above, tiered cakes — including a “Star Wars” inspired cake — keep watch over the store.
Anderson said that a lot of regulars will come in to get their favorite treat, so it is difficult to pinpoint only one popular goodie.
“Our Danishes are really popular,” Anderson said. “We sell through those every day. Cupcakes are always a big thing we do, because those are the ‘in’ thing right now.”
All of the baked goods are made in-house, which Anderson says speaks to the quality of products at the bakery.
“The only options [people] see around [Dowagiac] anymore are the grocery stores and things like that,” he said. “That’s fine for what it is, but you just can’t beat a fresh-baked cinnamon roll each morning!”
Baker’s Rhapsody is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday; from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Friday; and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. It is located at 144 S. Front St. in Dowagiac.
Bit of Swiss
It is difficult to keep a business running for 50 years, but Bit of Swiss in Stevensville has been baking right along since 1967 with no signs of slowing down.
Perhaps this longevity is partly responsible for the popularity of the bakery, but customers are more apt to tell you that it is the quality goods produced at Bit of Swiss that attract the masses.
The bakery is well-known for its breads, which are made from scratch each day using unique starters to slowly ferment the bread. Customers will also find freshly baked croissants, Danishes, cakes and other pastries.
In addition to the bakery, customers can sample Bit of Swiss fare at Tosi’s in Stevensville, Bistro at the Boulevard in St. Joseph, Tabor Hill in Buchanan and a variety of other popular Michiana restaurants on the southern side of the state line.
Bit of Swiss also owns a popular restaurant, bread + bar by Bit of Swiss, located at 645 Riverview Drive in Benton Harbor. Customers can purchase foods made with baked goods produced at the bakery.
Bit of Swiss is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday. The store is located at 4333 Ridge Road in Stevensville.
Photos by Emily Sobecki