How they got to their initial list of 1,400-ish from the estimated 6,000 or so bakeries in this country, I’m not sure, though at least some bakeries were considered due to a nomination from a panel of experts. These experts (some of whom have bakeries that made the list) contributed additional criteria, including atmosphere, technique, consistency, service, what their “standout specialties” are, and if they can make a good croissant.
Unsurprisingly, New York tops the list with nine bakeries. Massachusetts, Pennsylvaina, and Oregon each have four; California, Florida, and Washington state each have three bakeries on the list. Ultimately, bakeries in just 24 states made it, including a single bakery right here in Middle Tennessee.
from The Daily Meal site:
Merridee’s Breadbasket, #40
In what was once an old hardware warehouse in downtown Franklin, Merridee Erickson opened her bakery in 1984 after three years of selling her baked goods from her log cabin in Fairview. Merridee’s Breadbasket is still open today, and although 30 years have passed, the bakery still serves from-scratch goods made the old-fashioned way. Customers visit Merridee’s for Viking bread, which is four-grain bread made without eggs or sugar. The Breakfast Braid, which is a braided loaf baked with a scrambled egg, ham, and white Cheddar filling, is another popular breakfast item. Those with sweet tooths will enjoy pies with made-from-scratch crusts and fillings, as well as tea cakes, a Southern specialty.
I don't make it down to Franklin very often, but I've enjoyed Merridee's several times over the years. Congratulations to them! As for the rest of the list, I'm embarrassed that the only other bakery I've visited is #25, Bouchon Bakery in New York. Just 25th? I thought it was outstanding; my husband and I ordered $35 worth of breakfast pastries, including their exquisite macarons, so I'm very surprised it wasn't higher on the list. So — obviously —I 've got to update my bakery to-do list to add some of the more interesting winners.
Have any of you visited any of the other winners? And what other bakeries do you think they missed (from this area or otherwise)? No doubt in my mind that Provence should have been on the list, as well as Sullivan Street Bakery in NYC.