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Artisan Foods Bakery & Cafe restaurant review, Roswell

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When I was a child, I didn’t eat bread. Hated it.

I peeled the bun off of a McDonald’s Big Mac, ate the patty and scooped up the special sauce with french fries. No sandwiches for me. And definitely no pizza.

Review by Jenny Turknett

Review by Jenny Turknett

At some point, as I started eating in nicer restaurants, I discovered the almighty bread basket. When I went off to college in New York, I discovered pizza. For better or for worse (decidedly worse for my figure), I became a bread addict (pastries included). And while there are many places where I can satisfy my bread tooth, few do it quite as well as Artisan Foods Bakery & Cafe in Roswell.

Given the variety of breads and pastries sold at Artisan Foods, I suspected one of the owners must have studied baking and pastry. To the contrary, owners Hoyt Williams and his wife, Sayuri, (front-of-the-house manager) both pursued the general culinary track at The Art Institute of Atlanta, where they met.

Hoyt Williams does, however, have a science background, making him well-suited for the precision of baking. Before attending culinary school, he earned an undergraduate degree in animal sciences and worked in the field of bacteriology at a USDA veterinary inspection facility. Likening the fields of bacteriology and baking, Williams says, “It just made sense.”

Roasted Lamb sandwich- mixed lettuce, vine ripe tomatoes, caramelized onion, balsamic vinaigrette on toasted sourdough with a side of pasta salad.. (BECKY STEIN/special)

Roasted Lamb sandwich- mixed lettuce, vine ripe tomatoes, caramelized onion, balsamic vinaigrette on toasted sourdough with a side of pasta salad.. (BECKY STEIN/special)

After earning his degree, Williams worked at Joli Kobe, Eatzi’s and Alon’s Bakery. From there, he and his wife teamed up to open Artisan Foods, a breakfast-and-lunch-only spot. Here you’ll find a cozy space with exposed wood beams, hardwood floors, vintage kitsch, burlap-coffee-bag wall hangings and dishcloth-covered seat cushions.

But as charming as it is, it’s really about the bread, right? You might stop in to buy a golden-hued baguette ($3.25), a round of tangy sourdough ($4.25) or one of the tempting Saturday morning pastry selections stretching the length of the counter, like the velvety rich chocolate croissant ($2.50) or the glossy pain au raisin dotted with dark and golden raisins ($1.95).

Once you’re in the door, you’ll absorb the decor and the yeasty fragrance enticing you to linger and sample. The sandwich-heavy menu offers items like the roasted lamb sandwich ($10), a beauty that appears to be the product of a food stylist’s handiwork. Picture perfect. This warm sandwich spills glistening 24-hour-red-wine-marinated lamb jus mixed with balsamic vinaigrette and caramelized onions from the toasted confines of sourdough slices. Perfect 10. Maybe it’s not just about the bread.

I’d also recommend the grilled flank salad ($9) . Like the lamb, the steak marinates in a secret house blend for a minimum of 24 hours. The sweet marinade complements the savory roasted sesame dressing on the mixed greens with sliced red onions and tomatoes. The pairing of the soy-and-sesame-oil dressing with the steak’s sweet marinade makes for a very compelling combination. My only beef here: slices of steak so large they require multiple knife cuts to make them bite-size. But, hey, while you’re cutting you can contemplate what’s in the secret marinade.

Crab cake sandwich on olive boule

Crab cake sandwich on olive boule

Your biggest challenge at Artisan Foods will be deciding what to order. Look for the day’s specials chalked on boards. If they have it, try the crab cake sandwich (or just about anything) made on the olive oil boule ($12). The boule, soft and almost buttery, accents the richness of the crab cake bound with a béchamel sauce and coated in Panko. The only thing we need here is something with a bit of zing to balance all these wonderfully decadent components.

You’ll also have to choose a homemade side to accompany your sandwich, like the satisfyingly crunchy Idaho potato chips, the slightly chunky molasses-ginger-nutmeg spiced apple sauce and fresh berries with a touch of super sweet créme anglaise.

But the beignets ($3.75 for three) will be a no-brainer. Who can resist a stack of steamy fried dough pillows covered in powdered sugar like a snowy mountain? Not me. Not when they are puffed and yeasty like these.

Here it all begins and ends with the bread. If you have an incurable weakness for it, get your fix at Artisan Foods Bakery & Cafe. The bread may get you in the door, but you’ll soon recognize that Williams has skill beyond baking a mean loaf.

Artisan Foods Bakery & Café
1169 Canton St., Roswell. 770-998-1169

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Food: Breads, pastries, salads and sandwiches

Service: Matter-of-fact and concentrated on moving the crowds through efficiently
Best dishes: Roasted lamb sandwich, grilled flank salad, crab cake sandwich ,beignets
Vegetarian selections: Salads, roasted vegetable panini
Credit cards: All major credit cards
Hours: 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays
Children: Perfectly fine
Parking: Yes
Reservations: No
Wheelchair access: Yes
Smoking: No
Noise level: Low
Patio: Yes
Takeout: Yes
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8 comments Add your comment

BC

June 28th, 2012
9:35 am

Holy cow.

Jenny-seriously this is torture to read, can’t wait to get in there and A. Breathe the air B. Try everything on the menu.

Great article and terrific writing too. Thanks for a new spot to try.

TableHockey

June 28th, 2012
9:48 am

Havent been there but I’ve heard similar positive reviews. The Lamb sandwich made Creative Loafings 100 meals to eat in Atlanta before you die list.

Bub

June 28th, 2012
3:53 pm

For the most part, bread just takes up room something tastier could be occupying. There are exceptions, of course. For everyday sandwich bread at home, eat Capt. John Derst in the brown bag.

MM

June 29th, 2012
7:09 am

Love this place! We go there quite often. The beignets alone are worth the trip!

Jenny Turknett

June 29th, 2012
7:43 am

Thanks, BC! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Terry Freedman

June 29th, 2012
2:35 pm

My favorite breakfast place in Atlanta. I’m a sucker for the beignets and café au lait. Omelets are great with no scrimping on the add-ins. Try the Saturday brunch (till 2) for more selections. The place can be a bit hard to find. It’s behind the Raifore Gallery off Canton Street in Roswell.

greg

July 1st, 2012
11:16 am

As a staunch ITPer I will only go OTP for something really special. Good bread is special, it’s hard to find and and there aren’t many bakeries that really stand out. So yes I will go OTP for AFB & C in Roswell, just this once.

Ned Ludd

July 2nd, 2012
11:10 am

Sitiophobia…….Fear of Bread…..