You pull open the door, and enticing aromas fill the air: butter, sugar, and rich chocolate. You see crusty baguettes and sourdough loaves. Fancy Dutch treats. Cream-filled donuts and cinnamon rolls. Fruit pies with real butter crusts. You’ve just stepped into a Petoskey area bakery.
Need to fuel up after a hard day of having fun? Our local bakeries have you covered. Be sure to check out one, or all, of these purveyors of fine treats while you’re visiting our area.
House of Pies
4577 Oden Rd., Alanson
House of Pies is getting a makeover: Oreste Cardillo and his husband, Deon Benito-Cardillo, owners of Chicago’s beloved Empanada Mama & The Pie Man, are taking over the business and bringing a new generation of pies to the region.
The couple moved to Chicago in January 2020 from South Africa and opened up an award-winning pie shop. Now, they’re bringing their heavenly wares to the Petoskey area, with items like curry pot pie, buffalo chicken and bleu cheese empanadas, and dessert pies.
Baking philosophy: According to Cardillo, everything is made with lots of butter and love. “We don’t skimp on ingredients or quality. I only make what I like, or it doesn’t turn out right.”
Tips and best sellers: The newly renovated House of Pies will open in May 2023. You can find their menu at the link above.
The Dutch Oven Bakery
7611 US-31, Alanson
The Dutch Oven Bakery (and Yarn Shop) is an Alanson mainstay. Owners Erika and Rob Kennedy took over this beloved bakery in 2019, and they’re using the same recipes for staple items that made it an up-north fixture.
While the owners weren’t available to talk, the writer is well acquainted with The Dutch Oven. You can find made-from-scratch donuts, cookies, cakes, cinnamon rolls, and other bakery fare there. However, they exceed by offering items you just can’t get elsewhere. There are Linzer tortes: thick pies filled with raspberry jam and almond paste, surrounded by a walnut-butter crust. Bacon rinds are a perennial favorite. There’s no bacon in them; just layers of flaky, frosted puff pastry filled with—you guessed it—almond paste. Stop by and try something new!
Gildas’ Lake Street Bakery
110 S Lake St, Boyne City
Stepping into this Boyne City bakery is a slice of buttery heaven. The case is brimming with croissants, cinnamon rolls, baguettes, cream puffs, kouign-amann, and more. The line for freshly-made crepes is out the door in the summertime.
Chef Gildas Berrou got his start making crepes with his mother at age 4 in Quimper, France, and began his baking career in earnest at age 16. He and his wife, Tara Ostrum-Berrou, opened the bakery in 2016 and have developed a loyal following.
Baking philosophy: “We like freshness and quality,” explains Berrou. “We don’t have products sitting around in the case for days.”
Tips and best sellers: Gildas’ chocolate, fruit, and plain croissants are a big hit, with crepes and scones vying for second place. Be sure to grab a slice of savory quiche or rich, buttery kouign-amann!
Birch Tree Bakery and Café
181 E Main St, Harbor Springs
Step into Nichole Hall’s shop and you’ll be gobsmacked by a case full of muffins, cupcakes, sprinkle-covered donuts, coffee cakes, or any of a variety of sweet treats. Need something savory? That’s why she makes delicious breakfast burritos.
Hall started out selling baked goods from her home. When the opportunity came to rent a space in Harbor, she and her husband leapt at the chance. Now, the bakery is a downtown fixture.
Baking philosophy: “We do things the old-fashioned way, like you’ve gotten something right out of grandma’s kitchen,” she explains.
Tips and best sellers: The chocolate chip cookies really do weigh a quarter pound, and they’re a top seller. Hall also suggests blueberry muffins and maple walnut coffee cake.
My Sister’s Bake Shop
*Hours and location vary seasonally! Check the website for details. *
107 Franklin Park, Harbor Springs
Jane “Jib” Liska started baking because her kids were tearing through store-bought granola bars at an unreasonable pace. You can find her delicious scones, cinnamon rolls, cookies, breads, crackers, soups, salads, and to-go dinners at her storefront between September and May, while baked goods are available at the Harbor Springs Farmer’s Market in the summertime.
Liska’s offerings reflect her love for fresh, preservative-free ingredients. “It’s big businesses who said we have to be open 24 hours and the food has to look perfect,” she explains. “But that perfection is chemicals and preservatives. I want things to taste great, not look fancy.”
Baking philosophy: “It’s just using real ingredients and using what you have,” says Liska.
Tips and best sellers: My Sister’s Bake Shop opens for limited hours and the times vary seasonally, so check before heading over. Liska says her scones are sell-out favorites, and the ever-popular granola bars are sold at Toski Sands, North Perk Coffee, and Lyric Theatre. Grab a loaf of English muffin bread when the storefront is open.
Tom’s Mom’s Cookies
267 S. Spring St., Harbor Springs
You haven’t had a Tom’s Mom’s cookie? Have you been living under a Petoskey stone? This Harbor Springs cookie purveyor has been around since the 1980s, and while it’s no longer owned by Tom, the cookies are made with the same beloved recipes.
Jill VanSloten has managed the store since 2020, and she loves the store’s special touches. Take, for example, the 10-pound bars of chocolate that are broken into chunks for several cookie varieties. “No one chunk will be the same because we do it all by hand,” she says.
Baking philosophy: Their secret to success is consistency. Staff retention helps ensure that every cookie is baked to the same high standards.
Tips and best sellers: You know you want a chocolate chunk cookie; they’re a Tom’s Mom’s best seller. VanSloten’s favorite is the chocolate almond coconut. You can buy tins of cookies to ship to your favorite people on the website, or serve their cookies at your wedding.
Crooked Tree Breadworks
2264 M-119, Petoskey
“We started in 1996 in response to a lack of good crusty bread around the Little Traverse Bay region,” reports Crooked Tree Breadworks founder Greg Carpenter. Add delectable scones, crisp shortbreads, turnovers, cookies, and a famous granola recipe, and you’re guaranteed to leave the bakery with more than you came in for.
Carpenter was methodical about developing his bread recipes. When he was learning, he had to be: artisanal bread baking was still largely a European craft in the 90’s. He modified the recipes one variable at a time in order to create the perfect, crusty loaf.
Baking philosophy: “Use only ingredients that need to be there. Using the best ingredients and taking our time gets us the quality products we make here are Breadworks.”
Tips and best sellers: The sourdough loaves and three o’clock baguette are best sellers. Addictive Granola is a pantry staple for people in the know, and the mixed berry scone is a popular item. Try their new salty/sweet Pub Nuts or if you happen to be there on a Wednesday – Maple Brioche Cinnamon Rolls!
Johan’s Pastry Shop
565 W Mitchell St., Petoskey
201 State St., Harbor Springs
If you want soft, delectable pastries from a long-standing Petoskey institution where employees treat each other like family, look no further than Johan’s Pastry Shop. “Almost every Friday we all go out to eat,” says manager Zach Coonrod. “We always make time to get together as a chosen family.”
Come for the family atmosphere and stay for the old-fashioned treats. There’s an enormous selection of glazed, sugar-coated, cream-filled, and frosted perfection in their cases. We dare you to buy just one donut.
Baking philosophy: Everything is baked in small batches at Johan’s. Coonrod reports that each item is hand cut and glazed or frosted by an employee.
Tips and best sellers: Customers rave about the J cakes, and the apple fritters and old-fashioned sour cream donuts are favored contenders. There’s also a huge selection of cakes and beverages to go.
JoJo’s Cookie Co.
2611 Charlevoix Ave, Petoskey, MI
Jordyn and Colin Wilson opened up JoJo’s Cookie Co. in September 2022. Their moist, flavorful cookies—with varieties like loaded s’more, fluffernutter, and chai spice—might be the reason their bakery is getting rave reviews.
Jordyn has always loved to bake, but never dreamed she’d open a store. “It was around the holidays in 2020 when I was making a bunch of cookies, and my family was wondering what was going on. In the back of my head I was like, ‘I think might have started a cookie company,’” she laughs.
Baking philosophy: “If it tastes good, I just go with it,” she says.
Tips and best sellers: Jojo’s ships nationwide. Order ahead for pickup so you don’t miss your fave flavor and consider getting a giant cookie cake. The top three sellers are chocolate chip, cake batter, and snickerdoodle.
437 E Mitchell St., Petoskey
Huge, pillowy, scrumptious cinnamon rolls with a backstory: that’s Tillie’s Tafel. Jeff Dewes’ grandmother, Matilda (Tillie), was famous for her cinnamon rolls, and tafel, the German word for table, reflects his German heritage. So, pull up a chair at Tillie’s table!
Dewes and his wife, Patti, didn’t set out to open a cinnamon roll empire. They brought 70 cinnamon rolls to the Petoskey Farmer’s Market in June 2020 and sold out in less than half an hour. Now, the couple wants to franchise their business so that more folks can enjoy Tillie’s legacy.
Baking philosophy: Dewes starts baking at 1:00 a.m. “When you come in at seven o’clock, you’re getting a warm, fresh, homemade cinnamon roll right out of the oven.”
Tips and best sellers: While the original recipe roll is a huge favorite, walk on the wild side and order a caramel pecan grilled roll. Grab some sugar cookies and Moomer’s ice cream while you’re there.
About the Author: Jen DeMoss is a newcomer to the Petoskey area and loves northern Michigan. You can catch her paddling a canoe, hiking a trail, or swimming in Lake Michigan as often as the weather cooperates. She’d love to help you make the most of your time in this paradise she now calls home.