ELKINS, W.Va. – This week’s Restaurant Road Trip takes us to Great Harvest Bakery and Café in Elkins for an early wake up call. Six days a week, the bakers start their shifts at 4a.m. to make fresh pastries for their customers. The chain has been around since 1976, but this specific store opened just last year. It’s the first of the franchises here in West Virgnia.
“We have a great customer base here in Elkins. We have a lot of fun,” said David Kesling, Great Harvest Bakery and Café owner, “That’s what Great Harvest stands for: baking phenomenal bread and goodies every day from scratch. Everything’s baked fresh.”
Kesling’s inspiration for opening a bakery comes from his grandmother, who loved to bake. He has even incorporated her peanut butter cookie recipe into the franchise.
The bakers go through around 300 pounds of flour every day. Cookies, brownies, muffins, teacakes, scones. If your sweet tooth can name it – they make it all fresh daily.
“Quality matters to us, and if you keep sweets and stuff [left]over, you can obviously tell that the quality is going to go down,” said Sydney Kesling-Akers, Manager and Baker, “So, we just want to make sure everything’s fresh for them, so they can enjoy fresh baked goods every day. It’s something we don’t really have in this area, so it’s just nice to provide that for our community, so they can have goodies and homemade bread.”
But their proudest bake is their breads that all start with the same base: yeast, water, honey, salt and flour.
“A lot of the times, if you go to the grocery store, you can see on the label 20 different ingredients for one loaf of white bread,” Kesling-Akers, said, “And here, at least you can come, and you know [that] I only have five simple ingredients, so it’s good and fresh and homemade.”
“My absolute favorite is the Popeye bread, which has spinach and some kind of cheese in it, but I like the Hallah bread too,” Cindy Price, a regular customer, said. “I got that at Easter time which seemed appropriate, and we all just really liked it. But, I haven’t gotten any breads in here that I didn’t like. Everything’s just fabulous.”
And they donate anything that’s left over to several churches in the area.
Bakers said the most popular items on the menu are the blueberry cream cheese scone, the Savannah Bar with mixed berries and peaches and, the West Virginia staple, the pepperoni roll.
The bakery also offers several deals. They have Two for Tuesday days where every customer gets a free second item that they buy. They also offer coffee mug subscriptions, are available on Door Dash and offer curbside pickup.
You can find more information about Great Harvest Bakery on their website.