There’s a whole lot of sweet stuff in Charlotte these days — from a donut so big it’s named after the state of Texas, to a maple bacon donut, to a salted caramel brownie and bread that is to die for. Charlotte has hit the sweet spot in recent years when it comes to satisfying your sweet tooth. The best bakeries in town all have loyal followings and almost all are locally owned. We checked in with them to get their recipe for success and run them down for you in all their goodness.
2001 E. Seventh St., Charlotte, NC 28204 • (704) 900-5268
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The original Sunflour Baking Company opened in Elizabeth eight years ago, and business is so good they’re not only about to open a fourth location, but they’re also getting ready to ship cupcakes and other baked goods nationwide. (That means you will soon be able to ship their famous chocolate croissants anywhere in the country.) Their tagline is “from scratch, small batch, local,” and that’s only part of the reason they have a line out the door every weekend morning. “People love our cinnamon rolls, croissants and muffins, and of course, cupcakes,” says owner Jack Parrish. He’s not kidding. The croissants are huge and flaky and scrumptious. The cinnamon rolls too – just huge!
SB Tip: They almost always run out of chocolate croissants by noon on the weekends, but you can call ahead and have them put one aside for you.
2424 N. Davidson St., Charlotte, NC 28205 (original location) • (704) 376-1781
Hours: All day, every day (24/7/365)
When Amelie’s first opened in Noda back in 2008, they closed their doors every night. But the French bakery known as much for its eclectic décor as their salted caramel brownies quickly realized it would be worth staying open — all the time. They’ve been open 24 hours ever since. That first location is still the most popular, but there are now six Amelie’s in three states, and they were among the most hotly anticipated new openings in the backlot of the Park Road Shopping Center this past summer. “We are honored to be a part of the Charlotte community and a place where people can sit and enjoy classic French pastries and savories in a whimsical environment,” Co-founder and Brand Manager Brenda Ische tells us. And just how popular are those salted caramel brownies? At last count they’d sold more than 1.4 million … and that count was more than three years ago!
1730 E. Woodlawn Road, Ste. H, Charlotte, NC 28209 • (704) 817-7925
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (or until sold out)
There’s a reason the word “craze” is in the name. Their tagline is “We Bake and We Are Crazy,” and owner Heather McDonnell is just a little bit crazy – she’ll tell you that herself. Known for being as generous as she is outspoken (she donates to a lot of local causes), McDonnell has appeared on several Food Network competitions, winning “Cupcake Wars.” South Park moms used to have to cross the border to get their hands on CupCrazed cupcakes because the original location is in Baxter Village in Fort Mill, South Carolina, but after years of customers demanding to know when she was opening in Charlotte, she finally did. The second CupCrazed opened (in the old Polka Dot Cupcake spot) in the Total Wine shopping center to a whole lot of fanfare this past May. Make sure to try the sweet tea cupcake (she won with that on the show) and the red velvet — the cream cheese frosting is to die for.
SB Tip: Take advantage of Two for Tuesday when cupcakes are just $2 all day until they sell out.
1721 N. Davidson St., Charlotte, NC 28206 • (704) 343-5234
Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to sell out; Saturday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Joe’s Doughs started out of owner (and musician) Joseph Pepe’s home kitchen. Today, things are so fresh at their NoDa shop that they boast about rotating the menu every 45 minutes. They went from Pepe’s kitchen to a pop up in 2014 and were such a hit that they opened up the storefront in the summer of 2016. Joseph says his team thrives on creativity in coming up with flavors — their most popular are maple bacon and chocolate sea salted caramel. “We’re dedicated to serving the best and most creative donuts in the Charlotte area. The response to our creative and gourmet flavors, such as the goat cheese strawberry balsamic, has been so overwhelmingly positive, I can’t put into words how happy it makes us,” he says. It makes us happy too!
SB TIP: Joe’s Doughs is known for teaming up with other Charlotte businesses to host fun community events. There was a Donut Ice Cream Sundae event with local pop up Hart’s Soda Shop, junk food donut nights, and a Pokemon Go event with a local arcade.
4245 Park Road, Charlotte, NC 28209 • (704) 525-0145
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The other big donut in town is so popular, sometimes you can’t even pre-order it. Suarez Bakery is one of the oldest in Charlotte and boasts about baking from scratch since 1992. They’re also known for creating custom cookies for any occasion. “I think the variety of goods we offer is a big draw. There aren’t a lot of places still making cake, doughnuts, cookies, pastries and breads from scratch; it’s an old-school bakery concept that’s hard to find today, but we keep it modern,” says Kitchen Director Amanda Hernandez. She adds, “We have a few signature goods that many people associate with us — sugar cookies, cream horns, guava pastelitos, authentic Cuban bread; and we’ve never seen a Texas doughnut cake anywhere else.” That Texas doughnut cake (officially referred to as #doughphe thanks to a play on the words “dope” and “dough”) is the sweet thing that has been selling out since they started making it. It’s a doughnut. It’s got sprinkles. And it’s HUGE!
1511 Central Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205 (original location) • (704) 333-5566
Hours: Monday through Sunday, 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Known for using brick ovens to make European breads and pastries daily, Nova’s is headquartered in Plaza Midwood but has grown to include five locations across Charlotte since opening in 1996. When they first opened, the Serbian couple only planned to do wholesale, but the community fell in love with their bread and a booming retail business was started. Lots of local restaurants and grocery stores carry their breads, and their coffee shops remain among the busiest in the Queen City.
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