We stayed overnight in Virginia, and when looking for breakfast the next day, I zeroed in on Heritage Bakery and Cafe in Harrisonburg, as a place where prior patrons had found gluten-free success.
Located in the picturesque main street of Harrisonburg's downtown, Heritage Bakery and Cafe is in a cozy building that is also home to the town's visitor center. With large windows overlooking a courtyard and an old fashioned (in the best way) feel, I instantly fell in love with Heritage Bakery and Cafe from the moment I saw it. The only outstanding question- how gluten-free friendly would they be?
When I asked about gluten-free options, the staff immediately asked to clarify whether I was celiac or not. With the answer to that, they were up front and explained that their kitchen is not gluten-free, but they do their best to uphold best practices to minimize cross contamination as much as possible. Any of their sandwiches could be made on gluten-free bread and the bakery case had some gluten-free delights: cookies and muffins.
For breakfast, I ordered Heritage Bakery's homemade granola, which came topped with blackberries, banana, and honey and a side of almond milk for drenching. The fruit was perfectly ripe and the honey added a sweetness that was just delightful. The granola was chunky- just the way I like it- and not too sweet. Candied ginger added a zing of flavor that was far different than other granolas I have tried but really worked to add flavor complexity with the other ingredients. When poured over everything, the almond milk added richness to the bowl. It was filling and supremely satisfied, the perfect way to fuel up for an hours-long drive through the mountains.
Because I was so in love with Heritage Bakery and Cafe, I decided to order a turkey sandwich to go. Topped with dijon mustard and lettuce and joined with salad, the sandwich was a lovely pick-me-up early in the afternoon. The star of the sandwich was the thickly-sliced, real turkey that would put any Thanksgiving leftovers to shame. Tender and flavorful, the turkey needed no fancy accompaniments between the bread slices- the dijon and lettuce were enough. The bread was normal-sized and stayed together nicely, not falling apart as other breads tend to do. My guess is that it was Udi's larger loaf. The salad had fresh greens and came with a vinaigrette that had red wine vinegar in it. It was a nice way to get some extra veggies on a long road trip.
Another to-go item I bought was a pumpkin cranberry muffin. The muffin was gigantic and had a nice moist crumb that was not too dense or crumbly. It was chock-full of pumpkin seeds, cranberries, and topped with granulated sugar and was a nice pre-feast teat before my Thanksgiving meal.
Heritage Bakery and Cafe is one of those on-the-road finds that completely blow me away. It's places like this that make me almost thankful for my food restrictions because they allow me to find places that are off the beaten path a bit, and far healthier than fast food options.
The staff were wonderfully nice, the setting picturesque, and the food simply divine. If you find yourself in or around the area, make plans to stop and take a moment to relish in the simple goodness of this bakery cafe.
Address: 212 S Main St, Harrisonburg, VA 22801
Cuisine: Sandwiches, Salads, Soups, Pastries
Ideal For: Breakfast, Lunch, Dessert
Price: See menu prices right here
Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible
Special Feature: Place a special order at this link
Address: 212 S Main St, Harrisonburg, VA 22801Website: www.heritagebakes.com
Price: See menu prices right here
Accessibility: Wheelchair accessibleSpecial Feature: Place a special order at this link