The creative bakeries of Tallahassee

Jay and I finally tried the new bakery in town – the SoDough Baking Co. They offer a selection of donuts and other baked goods. I chose the Thai Coffee donut. Jay had the Mexican Hot Chocolate version.

We each had a cup of Lucky Goat (coffee provided by the local Lucky Goat Coffee Company).

After living here for nearly eight years, we’re no strangers to Tally’s bakery scene. I’ve compiled a list (below) of some of my favorite items from the pastry haunts in town.

In recent years, there seems to have been an explosion of coffee shops and bakeries in Tallahassee. The longstanding Black Dog Cafe (happy 20th anniversary) and Tasty Pastry Bakery have become fixtures on the Tallahassee F&B scene. But the newer Lucky Goat offers a dependable and delicious cup of coffee. There’s simply more options than there were a few years ago.

Running a successful and independent coffee shop or bakery business can’t be easy in today’s market – with national chains on every corner. So, what does it take to be an original and independent brand that can win hearts and taste buds year after year?

I’m not steeped in the  nuts and bolts of the restaurant business. But for me, there are three elements you need in a bakery and coffee shop operation:

1. A product that stands alone

You can’t cut corners. The ingredients have to be the best. Customers will know and then they will compare, share and shame.

They will compare between bakeries, share their favorite recommendations with others and critique what they don’t like. This means, especially with social media, recommendations and word of month are powerful ways to promote your business.

2. Genuine hospitality

You can have the best cupcakes or cup of java in town, but if people are not made to feel welcomed or appreciated, then the brand experience is ruined. Who wants to pay five dollars for a cupcake if it comes with a side of indifference and/or arrogance.

One of my pet peeves – which ruins the experience for me – is when I am rushed to make a decision. We’re not catching a plane. There’s no reason to rush the customer when all they want to do is take a moment to look over the selection.

3. Variety with a specialty 

And regarding selection – offer a variety of items while maintaining quality. And specialize in something. Become known for that item. Be the talk of the town when that item is brought up in conversations about coffee or baked goods.

My list of local bakeries…

The Cake Shop

There’s no mystery here. You know what you’re in store for when you order a cake from this local favorite. Their cupcakes are just as delicious. And the frosting is always delightful.

My personal favorites are the fall spice cake, hummingbird cake and their chocolate cake with fudge frosting.

Tasty Pasty Bakery

Every Easter we order a box of hot cross buns. I start eating them before Good Friday. I’m a sinner.

They also have a wonderful chocolate silk pie.

Lucy & Leo’s Cupcakery

I love Lucy and Leo’s mini cupcakes. They are perfect for parties or events.

I also think their logo captures the personality of the brand – fun, creative and original.

They’ve been loved by Tallahassee locals for a long time now.

Au Péché Mignon French Pastry Shop

Without a doubt, you can’t go wrong picking a pastry at Au Péché Mignon. One of my favorite desserts for special occasions (Jay and I have enjoyed this on our wedding anniversary) is the L’Opera.

This dessert involves three layers of almond cake brushed with espresso and filled with chocolate ganache and mocha buttercream.

Then they cover it with chocolate.

Donut Kingdom

I have not had one of their donuts, yet. But I hear they are amazing.

One of these days…

So, if you live in Tallahassee or are traveling through – these are some of your options if you need to satisfy your sweet tooth.


Photos by Kenneth Morgan-Schleuning, unless otherwise noted. 


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