THE Historic District embraces a smattering of bakeries and cafes that individually offer something unique and special. Some focus on cakes, while others steer their efforts towards pies, macarons or coffee.
However, since February 20, Our Daily Bread Café has proven that it specializes in more than one area, offering fresh baked goods, coffee classics, homemade breakfast and lunch, and house made artisan bread.
On East State and Bull, facing Wright Square, this eatery’s prime location allows it to serve not only downtown employees and SCAD students, but also tourists and visitors. Its moderately tinted floor-to-ceiling windows and discrete sign cause passer-byers to take a second look.
The Café’s stately brick building, with ornate rod iron balconies on the top two floors, is owned by the Lutheran Church of The Ascension, which sits across the street. The church named the café Our Daily Bread, which of course derives from The Lord’s Prayer.
Prior to Our Daily Bread Café’s conception, Mabel’s Cupcake Emporium, owned by Dee Gibson, operated out of this building. Given that Gibson rented the space from the Lutheran Church, stakeholders from the church asked her to find ways to incorporate homemade bread into her cupcake business.
Since her cupcake production was successful on its own, Gibson chose to relocate Mabel’s to its current location on Ellis Square.
Following a short period of time, the Lutheran Church contacted Gibson, pleading for her to come back. Originally, the idea of owning and operating “two places seemed overwhelming” to Gibson. However, current Mabel employee, Josh Holland, changed her whole point of view.
Josh Holland worked his third job at Mabel’s Cupcake Emporium, fashioning macarons, an artistry that takes finesse.
When Gibson confided in him about The Lutheran Church’s desire for her to open a café with fresh baked bread, Holland had a solution.
You see, Holland, the former pastry chef of Memorial Hospital, had baked artisan bread for The Sapphire Grill. So after baking his legendary loaf for Gibson, the two decided to become co-owners of Our Daily Bread Café.
Executing the church’s specific vision and making it a reality, Gibson and Holland sought to produce a menu that was “simple, but the best of simple.”
“Everything had to be fresh,” Gibson declares.
The Lutheran Church aspired to have Our Daily Bread Café serve affordable breakfast and lunch, around $10 or less.
Gibson and Holland sought to stay within their guidelines for the majority of the menu, while featuring a few higher priced items like Shrimp and Grits.
Upon entry, the eatery’s charming exposed brick and adjacent sherbet orange walls provide a warm and welcoming aura. The well-lit open concept layout displayed décor with clean lines, such as a sleek white high-top community table, chocolate wooden café tables and two inviting leather chairs.
The walls were speckled with enlarged black and white vintage photographs, including the Lutheran Church and aerial views of the surrounding area.
Near the back of the café, there was a walk-up counter sandwiched between two display cases, flaunting daily sweets. On any given day, sweet-toothed customers can find freshly made macarons, danishes, pound cake, cheesecake, croissants, cookies and of course, Mabel’s cupcakes.
But none of these compare to Our Daily Bread’s trendy treat, the infamous Cronut. A croissant-doughnut hybrid, this pastry originated in New York City in 2013.
Fans of the coveted confection waited in line in SOHO, Manhattan, for hours, just to sink their teeth into this delight.
Around this time, Gibson’s son called her from a several-block long Cronut line in New York City. He urged his mother to crack the Cronut code and sell it in her shop. Now, Savannah’s only Cronut is sold at Our Daily Bread Café. Although the lines are not several hours long, they sell out of them very quickly.
Although the baked goods are worth a trip, the café’s breakfast and lunch menu are as well. Everything is made from scratch and prepared fresh daily. Take the meats for example; turkey, ham, pork loin and chicken are roasted every single day.
“No deli meat here,” Gibson boasts.
Whether it is the foundation of a sandwich or served as a side, essentially each menu item is accompanied by Holland’s freshly baked artisan bread.
While the bread is made daily, they do not sell full loaves at the walk-up counter.
However, loaf lovers can preorder the bread a day before and it will be ready by 2 p.m. the following day.
So one delightful Saturday afternoon, in the quaint kitchen furnished with high-end appliances by the Lutheran Church, Holland whipped up a fine lunch for my husband and I.
First, we were served a Main Attraction, the stunning Hot Brown. This dish originated in Gibson’s home state, Kentucky, at the Brown Hotel in Louisville.
Ignore the off-putting name and imagine an open-faced sandwich of thickly sliced homemade artisan bread, topped with freshly roasted turkey, crispy bacon, juicy tomatoes and a delicate Mornay sauce. This subtly cheesy sauce is made fresh with each order. This sandwich is unique to the Savannah foodie scene, tasting as memorable as it looks.
After that, we noshed on a Between the Bread option and a café favorite, the classic Chicken Salad Croissant. The homemade croissant had a glossy golden shell and a billowing flaky interior. It was an ideal creamy chicken salad sandwich that was equally comforting and satisfying.
Our Daily Bread is the renaissance man of cafés. From crepes, shrimp and grits and breakfast burritos, to artisan bread sandwiches, cups of coffee and homemade baked goods, this joint truly does it all. Gibson and Holland have found the delicate balance between simple but elegant, only providing high-quality goods that showcase their expertise.
Our Daily Bread Café plans on having a ribbon-cutting Grand Opening in mid-October.