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Stella's Bakery

Stella'sUpdate 3/30/12: Stella's announced that they are closing the restaurant in April.

In a word: Find the goldmine.

The specs: #0613  
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Badger Herald, Chef Moz, Eating Everywhere; opening announcement at Isthmus; official web site, Stella's Bakery on Urbanspoon

Latest Stella's Bakery news and reviews

JM ate the ham and cheese breakfast sandwich with an apple juice.
Nichole ate the sticky bun with a coffee.
We got a loaf of ciabatta.
The bill was $16, or $8/person, plus tip.
JM gave Stella's Bakery an A-; Nichole gave Stella's Bakery an A (see our grading rubric).

Before this visit, we were like every other Madisonian who mostly knows Stella's for the Spicy Cheese Bread. If anything, the delicious but shortening [correction] butter-laden, mozz-and-prov-veined, red-pepper-flaked, as-much-as-the-market-will-bear-priced Saturday morning treat had worn out its welcome with Nichole. In her stint as DCFM volunteer, Nichole never understood why Stella's was exempt from the "no hawking" rule, and JM never really fell under the bread's spell at all.

But it turns out that Spicy Cheese Bread is to Stella's as Colby O'Donis is to Lady Gaga; as Birdhouse in Your Soul is to They Might Be Giants; as Carcassonne is to Rio Grande Games; as Wisconsin Dells is to Wisconsin; as Macaroni & Cheese pizza is to Ian's... which is to say that it is the flashy sign in the window that draws people in and allows the real deal to follow.

The bakery is as different from the market as one could imagine. It's been located in an industrial park since the early noughts, but a dine-in area was added in fall of 2009. The space is bright and open, with two large tables and a counter with four seats overlooking the bakery area. It was a bustling scene and fun to watch - probably a dozen workers were in action in the very clean, efficient kitchen.

Breakfast sandwichSticky bun

The bakery turned out muffins, danish, bread, cinnamon and nut rolls, but, to JM's chagrin, no donuts. While this continues to stick in his craw, he doesn't begrudge Stella's that choice.

There are several lunch sandwiches (they deliver within a three mile radius!) and a basic breakfast sandwich. JM got one with excellent smoked ham, swiss cheese folded into lightly scrambled eggs, all on grilled Spicy Cheese Bread.

CiabattaThe sticky bun was hearty and amply cinnamoned, with a thick caramel glaze studded with pecans. It stuck to both teeth and ribs in an entirely pleasant way.

We got our ciabatta home and later made sandwiches for lunch. The bread was salty outside, very airy and chewy inside.

And if you still gotta have that SCB, it's worth knowing that at the bakery they'll slice it for you.

Comments

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That's also pretty close to the Capital City Bike Trail, and that would be a great stop for a treat!

Thanks for clarifying why they opened in that location. We went a few times but never asked. Just always left wondering how they were going to make it there. But I guess it'll work since they've always been there. I liked that the "menu" was simple. Have they fixed the gap between the counter and the glass barrier? My daughter pulled a muffin through that small gap. It wasn't pretty, but she enjoyed the muffin after it was properly purchased.

Add Stella's to the list of great breakfast sandwichs in town along with Plaka (Cleveland's) and Gotham Bagels.

I've been under the Spicy Cheese Bread spell ever since I moved to Wisconsin 5 years ago:) I should probably try some of their other treats!

I never knew about this place before reading your blog, and now we've become regulars there. So first of all, thank you!! Secondly, this place is a real find. They specialize in bread, not fancy pastries, so expect bread (of course), muffins, scones - that sort of thing. Rustic things. No donuts, no cakes, no pies, no eclairs. Mostly bread and bread-like items (big exception being danish and cinnamon rolls). Also, the sandwiches are fabulous. I'm convinced that an excellent sandwich starts with an excellent bread - and this place has excellent bread. Every sandwich I've ever tried has been just great - especially my personal favorite, the chicken bacon ranch. Definitely give the place a try - you'll be glad you did.

NEWSFLASH: Today is the last day they're offering cafe items! (sandwiches, salads, soups). They want to focus on their bakery side from here on out. The guy did say, however, that they might offer a few pre-made sandwiches in the future - but the grill is now closed. Boo!!!!!!

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