Village Bakery & Cafe
Another stop along the localvore train in Athens, Village Bakery is a part of a group of three co-owned restaurants in town specializing in home-grown fare, both as a coffee shop and as a lunch stop, along with next door neighbor Della Zona Pizzeria. The businesses not only rely on local suppliers for ingredients, but they subsequently sell their things to places like Brew du Solil Cafe down the street. As I’ve said before, the “30 mile club” in Athens never ceases to amaze me with how tightly-knit the businesses are. They’re constantly out to support each other, and it might be the nicest business model I’ve seen yet.
Village Bakery has a formulaic lunch and bakery menu with very atypical ingredients. It sells soups, salads and sandwiches on top of baked goodies and breads. The items are produced almost exclusively with ingredients from a dozen or so local small farmers. Many are organic, many are vegetarian, and many are healthy. It’s hard to cast a place like this in a bad light when it’s got such a thoughtful and holistic approach to local cuisine. It brings out the resident sustainability nuts, something I consider an outstanding plus. Oh, yeah, and the food is good.
In fact, the ingredients are some of the freshest you’ll taste in the area.
Stuff here is pricey; such is the cost of supporting such a small guy business, normally I would it’s absolutely worth said cost. But some of the items run $12 for a relatively small salad. If you’re a health and sustainability nut though, you won’t find a tastier menu, though. Another problem I found was the somewhat crowded environment; the place is so tiny it’s hard to get comfortable with the other people elbow-to-elbow with you. It could use some aesthetic improvements, as the interior is so busy it’s almost junky. These little things don’t really counter the quality of the food, but at the same time a lot of little problems add up and reduce the enjoyment of the overall experience.
My last complaint is for the strange hours. The place is open almost 12 hours from Tuesday through Saturday, but only briefly opens its doors for brunch Sunday.
I wish businesses like Village Bakery were more common in the world outside Athens; businesses which don’t even seem fazed by profits or bottom lines, but are genuinely concerned about improving the community and helping out as many little local businesses in the process. Service in such places is always outstanding and based on environmentally conscious cooking methods and restaurateurs who have a different passion and set of ideals from the typical ones.
- The hours are generally very good during the week, but has unusual hours on Sunday and closed Monday.
- A huge number of items on the menu are organic, vegetarian, and healthy.
- Food here is pricier, particularly the salads. While this is not uncommon for places like this, here the price is substantially raised.