Village Bakehouse is no new kid on the block. The restaurant-meets-bakery that straddles Oro Valley and Tucson has served homemade goodies baked fresh daily for more than two decades.
Serving sandwiches on artisan bread, espresso drinks, and a wide selection of desserts and cakes, with more than 30 pastries and cookies to choose from, it’s a confectionery oasis.
“It’s kind of surprising what comes out of this little place [considering] the volume that we do,” said Paulette Griggs, owner of Village Bakehouse. She’s down to earth and her passion for baking and maintaining the bakery comes through as she talks.
Griggs attended culinary school in New York. After moving to Tucson, she started as a consultant for Village Bakehouse when it opened in 1996. At first, she strictly helped develop menu items. From there, the owners hired her as a manager and offered to sell her the business in 2002. Since a solid reputation had already been established, she kept most things as they were and made a smooth transition.
When Village Bakehouse originally opened, the primary focus was artisan breads. Since then, they’ve expanded to offer a limited breakfast, followed by lunch, and eventually growing to include cakes and catering.
Walk in to Village Bakehouse and the first foods you'll see are mini to-go cakes. Colors and variety abound: teal frosted cakes with yellow sunflower decorations, cakes covered in cookies, and rainbow sprinkles. Flavors range from classics such as chocolate mousse and lemon to less common, like hazelnut and pink Champagne (yes, real Champagne). More than 15 choices of fillings are available, including cream cheese and mocha. More of their gorgeously decadent wedding cakes can be found at local wedding fairs or sites such as the Knot.
“I’ve made cakes for people when they were kids, I’ve made their wedding cakes, and I’ve made their kid’s cakes,” Griggs said. "I just love that feeling of feeding all these people and making them happy.”
With order-at-the-counter style service, guests pass by a large display case of pastries. Shelves are filled with specialty wedding cakes and loaves of bread. A framed photo of a boulanger-pâtissier beneath a large antiquated clock pays homage to French bakeries. Casual and warm, Village Bakehouse is on the smaller side, although there’s plenty of covered outdoor seating on the patio.
Baked goods aside, a selection of sandwiches, panini, salads, and soups are available throughout the day. The soup of the day varies, but house favorites include the chicken tortilla. Served with a slice of avocado on top, it’s cheesy and hearty.
And as you'd expect, sandwiches and breakfast toasts are made from the house-baked artisan breads, the foundation of Village Bakehouse.
A wide variety of cold and hot sandwiches are available. Classics like a club, and corned beef on rye can be found, but also more creative options, such as Turkey & Cran (roast turkey, cream cheese, cranberry relish, cucumber & lettuce on whole wheat) and Sonoran Roast Beef (roast beef, cheddar, lettuce, sun-dried tomato, sour cream horseradish sauce on sourdough). But judge for yourself - the menu is home to 20 sandwiches.
Additional sweet offerings include mini cheesecakes, giant buttermilk cinnamon rolls, chocolate crinkles, fresh fruit tarts, and raspberry-filled croissants, to name but a few.
As for Griggs' secret to making everything taste great, she freely shares her trick.
“It’s the love that we put into it, honestly,” Griggs said. “It’s the heart. It’s knowing when it’s not right - and being able to figure that out. And using really quality ingredients - not skimping.”
Village Bakehouse is located at Plaza Escondida at 7882 N. Oracle Rd. Keep up with Village Bakehouse on Facebook. For more information, call (520) 531-0977 or visit villagebake.wpengine.com.