Friday, July 30, 2010
Story and photo
by Becky Billingsley
Max and Sue Goree both have professional baking experience, but they don't want their new business, Pawleys Island Bakery, to be just a bakery. They want it to also be a cafe.
If they continue to serve quality food as they have so far, people will be stopping by in droves.
But wait - customer are already stopping by en masse, because not only is the food delicious; it's all available at impressively modest prices.
Max has a history working in bakeries and restaurants in Michigan and Connecticut, and he attended cooking classes at Anne Willan's non-accredited culinary school in France called La Varenne. He and Sue moved to the Grand Strand area in 2005, and they spent more than four years searching for the right spot in which to open their carefully planned bakery.
They needed plenty of room, wanted to be located on U.S. 17 Bypass, and it had to have adequate parking. When Quiznos closed, Max realized the spot he awaited had become open.
Now Max arrives for work at 2:30 a.m. and lets the flour fly until doors open at 6 p.m. when bread epicureans start arriving to fill their senses with fresh yeasty aromas and their bellies with warm croissants, cheese biscuits, baguettes and more.
Sue also has a bakery pedigree from the school of hands-on experience. She worked at a bakery from 1984 through 1997, and her natural artistic abilities (she draws and is a photographer) shined through when she moved from baking to cake decorating.
If you want a customized cake you can bounce your idea off of her, and Sue will tell you if she can recreate it.
The only remnant of Quizno's that remains is a big faded Q in the hardwood floor that's mostly covered up by the display case. Now when customers enter the first things they see are goodies such as Old Fashioned Cake Donuts, whole Raspberry Cream Cakes, Chocolate Peanut Butter Stacks, Lemon Cream Shortcakes and a long row of freshly baked breads.
Behind the counter a window to one of two kitchens provides a peek of a couple of employees busily baking and preparing lunch orders. A long counter opposite the display cases - facing Ocean Highway - provides several seats.
To the right of the front door is a dining area called The Gallery where Sue Goree's photography (available for purchase) is on display. A few tables are in there, plus a couple of Adirondack loveseats that create a cozy niche in which to enjoy coffee and a pastry.
The bakery is bright and welcoming with plenty of staffers to quickly fill orders.
What's to eat
Sweets lovers will be ecstatic here, both for the variety and the prices. Whole cakes are available such as Carrot, Chocolate Fudge, Red Velvet, Cannoli Cream, Chocolate Mousse, Raspberry Mousse and Regular Guy cake filled with chocolate mousse. Six-inch cakes are $10, and 8-inchers are $16.
Don't want a whole cake? There are cupcakes studded with M&Ms or topped with colorful sprinkles, plus Cupcake Sandwiches filled with coconut cream.
If cookies trip your sweet treat trigger, the bakers have made Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chunk, Snickerdoodles, Oatmeal Raisin Walnut, Butter with raw sugar on top, Coconut Macaroons dipped in chocolate, Rocky Road cookies and White Chocolate Cherry Cookies.
For those who think cookie bars are best the case holds Magic Bars,
Chocolat-ChunkPecan, Lemon Shortcake, Tiger Brownies and more.
Mornings can start off sweetly with Cinnamon Rolls, Muffins, Danish, Scones or Donuts, or breakfasters can choose savory items like $3 breakfast sandwiches with Taylor Ham on freshly baked hard rolls, Croissants or large Cheese Biscuits.
A few specialty soups, sandwiches and side salads are featured at lunchtime. When I visited there was Vegetable Soup, six sandwich choices (Tuna Salad, Texas Smoked Beef Brisket, Hummus Wrap, Smoked Chicken Salad, Classic Italian and Hot Meatloaf) and three side salads.
My friend tried the Italian sandwich, and he loved the freshly baked ciabatta bread on which it was served. The meat was cut a little too thick (my dining companion is an Italian chef, and he said Italian sandwich meats aren't lean enough to be sliced thickly), and the sandwich maker forgot to take off the plastic ring around each meat slice. When Max Goree was alerted to this, he was grateful for the feedback.
I had the beef brisket, and it was incredibly wonderful. Many new barbecue restaurants in Horry County are serving brisket, and they are all tasty. However, this brisket at Pawleys Island Bakery beats them all. It doesn't slice prettily as at the barbecue joints, but by golly it is exceedingly tender, moist and flavorful. The sandwich was served on my choice of freshly baked bread (I picked wheat) and came with a container of sweet and tangy tomato barbecue sauce.
That leaves the side salads, and my choices were potato salad, pasta salad and tomato/mozzarella. We split the last one and agreed it was delicious with its cold balls of fresh mozzarella and sweet imported Italian cherry tomatoes.
If you want to buy fresh bread loaves, be aware that sometimes Pawleys Island Bakery sells out by lunchtime. You can always call and put an order in for your favorite, and the staff will save it back for next-day pickup. A few of those choices are French Baguette, Multi-Grain, Seeded Rye, Cranberry Walnut, Pumpernickel and Sourdough.
Pawleys Island Bakery
Where: 10517 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island
Noise Level: Not loud at all. You can dine in peace.
Vegetarian Options: Most everything here is vegetarian except for a few meat-filled sandwiches and soups with meat broths. One of the lunch sandwich options the day I visited was a Hummus Wrap.
Smoking: Not allowed
Hours: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays
Prices: Breakfast sandwiches are $3; individual breakfast pastries are less. Sandwiches are $6, and sides are $2. Soup is $4.50.
Check for Two: Two breakfast sandwiches and two cups of coffee are about $10; Lunchtime sandwiches with side salads and drinks is about $20. Whole cakes are $10-$16
New Italian Cafe
Chef Jimmy Pronesti, who formerly owned Bella Napoli in Socastee, is opening a new Italian restaurant in Pawleys Island. Caffe Piccolo is scheduled to open by the end of the first week in August at 9428 Ocean Highway. It will be in the space at To Your Health formerly occupied by Chive Blossom Cafe before Chive Blossom moved up the street to a bigger location. Caffe Piccolo may be small, but it will have room for 32 diners inside and 16 outside on a cozy little patio surrounded by greenery. The cafe will be open for lunch and dinner with panini, salads, seafood, veal, house-made pasta and scratch desserts. Caffe Piccolo does not yet have a phone line installed, but Pronesti can be reached at 283-1141.
A refreshing adult antidote to sweltering summer weather is the house-made Sangria at Salt Water Creek Cafe at 4660 U.S. 17 Bypass in Murrells Inlet.
For $4 per glass or $12 per carafe (four glasses' worth), you get an icy beverage made of cabernet, brandy, rum, fresh fruit slices and an additional secret fruity ingredient. Another cool dining idea there is sushi from Emi Sushi Connection, which sets up shop in the Salt Water Creek bar daily at 4 p.m. The number is 357-2433.
Cupcakes at the new Ndulge Cupcakery at 3574 U.S. 17 Business in Murrells Inlet are pricey at almost $3 apiece, but they pack a lot of flavor in a few bites.
Owners Ben and Jen Rozak offer combinations such as Jolt (chocolate cake, espresso frosting and a cream-filled pirouette cookie) and Dune (vanilla cake with fruit filling and a topper of cinnamon and raw sugar).
It's open starting at 10 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and the number is 808-1979.