A labor of loaf 

When you walk into Back In The Day Bakery, the smell of fresh bread and desserts tantalizes and the display cases beckon with heaps of fresh brownies, baby chocolate cakes and mounds of bread.

Co-owned by Griffith Day and Cheryl Brown, Back In The Day Bakery is Savannah's only artisan bakery. Located at 2304 Bull Street, in the heart of the Starland District, the bakery has a commitment not only to great food but to community service.

“We really don't want to take over Savannah and feed the world,” says Day. “We want to create an atmosphere where people can come for good food and help support the surrounding neighborhood and community.”

While the Starland District may seem an unlikely location for Savannah's first artisan bakery, the concept of a smaller, neighborhood bakery fits in well on Bull Street where neighboring businesses and developers are trying to reclaim the neighborhood and redevelop part of historic Savannah.

However, some people are asking, “What is an artisan bakery?”

Day described their work as baking totally from scratch and making what are considered artisan breaks and desserts. On a given day, Day and Brown try to lure customers in with French baguettes and country white bread, while tempting them with more unusual items such as pepper parmesan bread or ciabattas with or without toppings.

Brown makes cakes with Italian buttercream frosting, fabulous brownies and banana pudding and offers the breakfast crowd scones and fruit pastries.

Their tactics appear to be working.

“At first I've tried a variety of breads I thought would be popular that have fallen through,” says Day.

“But the response has been very positive. Some folks come in expecting a full range of products. It's been a learning experience for locals who haven't had an artisan bakery. But people who have moved here from bigger cities have some experience with it and know what we're about.”

He adds, “We're very excited by the response. People come in every day and tell us how happy they are to have our bakery in town.”

Relying mostly on word of mouth, Back In The Day Bakery's offerings have flexibility not as available to many bigger, traditional bakeries.

Brown has the opportunity to rotate out certain dessert or pastry items, while Day has a little less choice, because people expect certain breads to always be offered.

“People tend to like that 'one kind' of bread. Cheryl has flexibility and can rotate her items, except maybe the brownies and the banana pudding. She does a variety of cookies and makes incredible cakes, but we've developed a cult following for her brownies and the banana pudding,” Day says.

When asked what he cannot live without on the menu, Day laughs and says “I'm a sucker for chocolate chip cookies and, I guess the brownies. I'm just a chocoholic.”

When asked what Brown would choose as her favorite dessert, Day says, “Ooh, that's hard. But I'd guess the banana pudding.”

Of course, Brown has to prove him wrong. When she comes out of the kitchen, she says, “The chocolate cake. That Italian buttercream icing? Mmm.”

The two former out-of-towners from Santa Monica and Milwaukee are making their presence felt. Plans are for the bakery to expand its seating further into the combined storefront it shares and the owners are thinking about opening earlier.

People have also requested lunch to go with Day's breads and that will potentially happen this fall.

“We'll see, especially this summer when the developers are breaking ground here in Starland,” says Day. “We're getting good business. If you have a really good product, people in Savannah will tell everyone they know about it.”

Back In The Day Bakery is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information or to place a special order, call 495-9292.

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Jennifer Swain

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Connect Today 10.21.2016

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