There's an old nursery rhyme that goes Little Tommy Tucker sings for his supper — what does he eat? Brown bread and butter! I think of it as a good thing when you walk into a place and it takes you back to homey basics like hefty slices of brown bread slathered in butter.
Maybe it's the wall photo of the smiling kid with curly brown hair, obviously enjoying his brown bread sandwich, or all the warm wood cabinets and soft red walls, the clear sunlight streaming through big windows, or just the heavenly scent of freshly baked bread washing over me as I walk in.
I feel at home and have nursery rhymes singing in my head as I step up to the counter of the Great Harvest Bread Company, the loaves already sliced and ready to sample, and the pots of butter and jam by the bread board. Now this is more like it!
I'm a bread lover from way back, and have been known to walk out of a restaurant that serves decent food if they also happen to serve crappy bread — or worse, gasp! — no bread with meals. The bakery franchise in Sandfly opened in August and will be seeing a lot of me.
It's a simple place, really, just sandwiches, baked chips and fruit for lunches, and a wonderful selection of fresh breads, muffins, scones, and a cookie menu that changes daily. Another item that goes straight to my heart is fresh challah — I haven't had good challah since Alan Gottlieb closed his doors.
Now, when I say "fresh'," that's no foodie jive: The grain for the bread is shipped in from Montana.
"The best grain in the U.S. comes from there," the manager states proudly, "and we mill the flour here, right on the premises, each day."
The staff all wear tie-dyed T-shirts, are friendly and patient in explaining whatever you want to know, or helping you put together a gift basket or picnic lunch. You can feel and see the pride they take in their product.
It seems only natural that they also serve real butter, no margarine, and use only brown sugar and honey to sweeten. Savannah Bee Company products also abound and I see them end up, along with generously sized loaves and sets of cookies, in beautiful gift baskets.
It's all things bread here, folks, from excellent bread knives (standing in a glass jar of grain), bread warmers, jams and jellies to dress up the slices, Gourmet teas and coffees to lend their warmth to a satisfying meal.
Before you order, take a moment to roam around and sample. There's an inviting bread board with hunks of several flavors of baked goods (my fave was the Popeye Bread with spinach and swiss cheese chunks). Eyeball tempting sweets like the fabulous Savannah Squares, a rich oatmeal bar with an intense topping of various berries and fruit, or the big poppy-seed and almond scones that taste like marzipan on Christmas morning.
Though the sandwich menu may seem sparse (nine varieties), the descriptions will make your mouth water, especially when you know you have a choice of such incredible breads. My daughter ordered the California Cobb: Lightly smoked hormone- and antibiotic-free turkey breast, crispy bacon, sliced avocado, blue cheese spread, lettuce, tomato and onion on the Dakota bread, full of sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
I make some great chicken salad so I'm always trying it outside of home to see how it compares: The Louisville Chicken Salad is all-natural chicken rich with sweet and spicy pecans and seasoned mayo, piled high with lettuce, tomato and onions on their 5-grain Fiber bread was almost too much to finish but I couldn't bear to leave a single bite.
You can sum it all up in their motto, painted on the wall above a grandmotherly wood cabinet: "Be loose and have fun! Bake phenomenal bread. Run fast to serve others. Give generously."
This lil' Tommy Tucker will be comin' back soon for some of that "brown bread and butter" (and bringing Lil' Miss Muffet too)!
Norwood Market Shopping Center in Sandfly, 7360 Skidaway Road, Suite J 1, (912) 777-7263
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