Let's talk "Bakery"
IF you are from Sheboygan, "bakery" means the store that sells bread, cookies, cakes, pies and other confections AND "bakery" means the sweet rolls you buy at a bakery. SO, for those of you who are not Sheboygan dwellers, you would sound like a local if you walked into Johnston's Bakery and said "Yeah, gimme a dozen assorted bakery please!"
Let's talk Johnston's Bakery, a Sheboygan landmark, has been family run since 1950. Admiring the corner store is a bit of a time hop, they remodeled it to reflect the turn of the century and they decorate the exterior to match the season. You may or may not notice that when you walk in because your sense of smell will take over the moment you open the door. I waited to visit the bakery until the traditional workday started, opting to avoid the Friday morning donut pickup rush. Crazily enough, the place was rockin. Every table was occupied, and there were three people ahead of me at the counter. The display cases were loaded with breads, cookies, cake, donuts, pastries and pies and I was offered the option to order by three different lovely staff members before I could make my decision...SO MANY OPTIONS! Johnston's has a large dining area and a private meeting room for seating, as well as a wide selection of coffee drinks.
Let's talk about the buying experience. I took my order to go. I almost fell over when the clerk rang up my bear claw, loaf of bread and dozen cookies for the princely sum of $9.20. What? Really? No wonder this place was packed. You can get your sugar and caffeine fix for unbelievably low prices.
Let's talk about the food. The almond bear claw had a delicate exterior filled with a wonderful layer of almond filling. The raw sugar and almonds baked on top provided a crunch. There were many species of bear claws at the bakery...most fruit filled. I brought a dozen cookies home for the family, and I MAY have broke off a half of the salted caramel and chocolate chip cookie, ate it and promptly grabbed the other half before I brought my coffee in the living room. Mr. Sheboygan Foodie and I cut into the bread after work and OH YES it was a treat, Cranberry, Walnut, 6-grain Baguette... I swear I will never leave that bakery without one of those ever again! First of all, I have never had a baguette the size of a loaf of rye bread before, okay, I am exaggerating only a little. It was huge. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was all I ever wanted out of a Cranberry, Walnut, 6-grain Baguette and MORE, a chewy, rich dough loaded with walnuts and cranberries.
I haven't even mentioned one of Johnston's famed items. Sheboygan, and even more-so Johnston's Bakery, is home to a very regional sandwich roll called a "hard roll," it is the vehicle with which you carry a hamburger or double brat from the plate to your mouth. Sheboyganites have very strong feelings about which bakery's hard rolls are the RIGHT hard rolls. THAT is another Blog entry, but you can be certain that Johnston's will be a contender in every conversation.
It is easy to see why Johnston's bakery has been in business for over 60 years.