Local Bakery Voted “Best Bread”

maria cass

If being voted “Best Bread” in 2007 by City Pages isn’t enough to make you want to visit Rustica Bakery in South Minneapolis, then you should know that it is also located in the same building as Java Jacks, an independent, local coffee house which also exhibits the work of local artists on its walls.

While Java Jacks has been around for a while, Rustica, started by couple Stephen Horton and Barbara Shaterian just four years ago, has only lately been added to this seemingly flawless setup. After the remodel of the original Java Jacks building in 2003, Rustica moved in as a separate, independently functioning company: “We sell separate goods and have separate transactions,” said Lindsay Hoest, an employee at Rustica. The new building features an expanded seating area, large enough to hold community meetings, which it often does. A small stage downstairs was also added, which often features local, up-and-coming musical groups.

Valentine’s Day appropriate treats include cherry frangipane, a French style tart filled with homemade almond cream and studded with tart wild cherries, along with black forest cakes, espresso tarts with walnuts, and bittersweet chocolate cookies, all these and more can all be found at Rustica. “As far as pastries go,” said Hoest, “our danishes are very popular.” With individual servings starting at $4.25 for the cakes and $5 for a half dozen cookies, Rustica provides to these treats to their customers at a relatively low price.

Rustica has “eastern European influences,” Hoest explains, so their recipes are “mainly from Italy and France.” This explains the strange names on the menu such as Pain Meunier, or Pain de Mie Wheat; however, if you ask for an explanation, the strange names reveal delicious creations unique to Rustica Bakery.

Not only does Rustica serve sweets, they also bake their own bread; selections include baguettes, levain, focaccia, and olive rolls. “We do specialty breads every day,” said Hoest. The bread of the day features artisan creations such as sesame levain on Fridays for $3.50, (bread with toasted sesame seeds inside and out) cañadas de azúcar on Wednesdays for $2 (flatbread baked with olive oil and sprinkled with sugar) and brioche on Tuesdays for $4.25 (light bread with butter and eggs.)

Java Jacks, the other piece to this perfect puzzle, serves quality coffee drinks ranging from a typical vanilla latte to turtle mochas, or, if you prefer cold beverages, Italian ices, or iced lattes make up a portion of the chilled drink menu.

Not often does one find a great bakery and a coffee house in such close relation; take advantage of this opportunity to save gas, eat savory treats and drink hot (or cold) beverages in a warm, inviting, and fun atmosphere. An added bonus: these two companies are located just minutes from Lake Harriet, the Rose Gardens, and Linden Hills.

Rustica opens its doors Tuesday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Likewise, Java Jacks is open Monday through Thursday, 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.