Travel

St. Louis Is a Hidden Gem of a Bakery Destination

6 places to go for breads, pastries and more
The Best Bakeries in St. Louis
Nathaniel Reid Bakery | Photo: Erik Kellar Photography

It's not just toasted ravioli and thin-crust pizza: St. Louis has some of the country's best bakeries. Here's where to go for croissants that sell out instantly, glorious sourdoughs, expertly made cakes and more.

Pint Size Bakery

The Saturdays-only salted caramel croissants are St. Louis's version of Cronuts. There's always a line, you can't preorder them and they're bound to sell out. Just ask none other than Rick Lewis of local joint Grace Meat + Three, who calls the pastries life changing. Should you miss the bounty—or show up anytime other than 10 a.m. on a Saturday—go for an intricately decorated cookie.

Nathaniel Reid Bakery

The French-trained chef of the eponymous bakery has been named Pastry Chef of the Year, led the Ritz-Carlton pastry kitchen and cooked in a three-Michelin-star restaurant, but Reid just hopes to be his neighborhood's go-to bakery. The domed, multilayered confections stand out, like the salted caramel Amber with local pecans, and you'll never go wrong with a croissant. Some pastries take upward of two days to make; I can confirm they take fewer than two minutes to take down.

Union Loafers

Daytime hours are for sandwiches on heady sourdough, and at night, you'll find excellent pizza—an oasis to many in a sea of St. Louis-style pies. If you're in the area, be sure to pick up a loaf of whatever it's got on hand.

 

Sourdontmissout.

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La Pâtisserie Chouquette

On a recent rainy Saturday afternoon, there were no fewer than five groups gathered around tea-time pastry towers—one, a mother-daughter duo dressed up to match April's Alice in Wonderland theme. The bakery does give a sense of a fantasy land, with cakes so intricately decorated you have to do a double take to realize they're edible. If you need help deciding between the pastry case's many options, start with the Darkness Croissant. It'll make any chocolate lover see the light. 

Knead Bakehouse

The sourdoughnuts, savory kolaches and homemade Pop-Tarts are all valid reasons to go to the Southampton neighborhood's recent addition, which was funded through Kickstarter. But if you leave without trying a towering cinnamon roll morning bun, well, you've made a mistake. 

Vincent Van Doughnut

No matter the flavors left by the time you get to the food truck-turned-bakeshop, don't think; just order. You can't go wrong with the coffee-dusted chocolate-glazed doughnuts, and the vegan offerings are among the best in the country.

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