Southern Belle ready to serve you
SUN PHOTO/PAT COPELAND Dawn Dugger and Andrea Spring
sit at one of the outside tables among fountains and
foliage at Southern Belle bakery and cafe.
BRADENTON – The long-awaited Southern Belle bakery and café opened yesterday in the Manatee West Shopping Center at the corner of Manatee Avenue West and 75th Street.
"We tried to stay comfortable and friendly," Dawn Dugger, who opened the business with her sister Andrea Spring, said. "We’re a bakery and neighborhood restaurant."
"With reasonable prices," Spring added. "With the economic situation, we wanted to appeal to a wide range of people – families, singles, retirees, professionals. We’re not pretentious or expensive."
The two cooked up the idea of the business after Spring’s victories in the Crisco National Pie Championships over the past two years. In 2007, she won first place in the citrus division and best overall with her key lime pie and a first place in the "other" category with her Chocolate Espresso Explosion.
In 2008,she returned to win first place in the nut category with her Key West crunch pie and an honorable mention for her apple oatmeal crunch pie.
The sisters began with a Web site to sell baked goods, corporate gifts and gift baskets and it evolved into the bakery/cafe concept.
"We started looking for a storefront and ended up here," Spring explained. "What’s really funny is that our uncle, Dr. Robert White, built this shopping center. He also was one of the founders of Blake Hospital.
"We rented one storefront, then when we came back from this year’s pie competition, the adjacent storefront was available. We took it too and had the wall torn out and installed partitions."
Diners have the choice of sitting inside at tables or the counter covered in replicas of vintage Florida postcards with the aroma of fresh baked goods wafting through the room or outside at tales set among soothing fountains and foliage. The outdoor area is pet friendly.
The brunch menu includes fresh baked rolls and biscuits, your choice of quiche, croissants, bagels and toast. There are appetizers from fish dip to escargot, soups from crab to pulled pork chili and salads from plates to greens to sides. Sandwiches come hot or cold and include Po’ Boys and pressed favorites.
If you’re feeling the need for a caffeine kick after all that food, you can choose from espresso, cappuccino or other specialties and accompany it with a dessert including key lime pie, bread pudding and Belle’s espresso, caramel brownie Sundae.
Don’t forget to take home a bag of fresh baked goods or Spring’s special cupcakes. And if you’re planning a wedding, Spring offers cupcake wedding cakes and wedding favors.
The sisters are planning to add beer and wine to the menu soon. Another coming feature will be a Southern food area where you can shop for cookbooks, gifts and specialties such as key lime juice, and pralines. Their Web site will be completed soon, and the address is southernbelle.com.
Southern Belle Bakery and Café
7414 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton
Hours: Monday through Friday
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Weekends during season