Wake up! It's time to hit your nearest Charleston bakery for a delicious start to an active day of city explorations. Thankfully, the Holy City is heavily populated with locally-owned bakeshops, known for a wide range of baked goods, bread, cakes, cookies, doughnuts, and more.
Let's start with the breakfast essentials. You may want to hit up Wild Flour Pastry on Spring Street for a savory Pesto Mozzarella Scone and a sweet Sticky Bun (only on Sundays), or make a visit to Saffron Bakery on East Bay Street for a Ham & Cheese, Chocolate, or Almond Croissant.
No matter where your Charleston "base camp" is located, you're close to fresh-baked bread, muffins, cupcakes, and a whole lot more. Try Bakehouse on East Bay if you're near the Charleston City Market or Waterfront Park, and Sugar Bakeshop or Browns Court Bakery if you're in any of the charming residential streets north of Calhoun.
Need to pick up doughnuts for a hungry family back at the hotel or rental apartment? No fear: hop in the car and scoot up to Diggity Doughnuts on Meeting Street for vegan, dairy-free (and some gluten-free) doughnuts! Want a closer, walkable option? Get to Glazed Gourmet, but get there quick; this Upper King Street doughnut shop is only open each morning until their creative, drool-worthy flavors are all sold out.
Wherever you choose to indulge, choose local. Explore our 10Best Charleston Bakery recommendations for endless bread and baked good options nearby.
Saffron Cafe & Bakery
This East Bay bakery is one of many cultural ties and talents. Here at Saffron Cafe and Bakery, there are Mediterranean dishes and Middle Eastern plates to enjoy, as well as a "global foods market" section full of takeaway goods, but we'll just focus on the baked goods--for now. Visit Saffron for scones, muffins, danishes, croissants, and other pastries with an impressive variety of flavors and fillings. There's a loaf of bread to suit every taste, too, including baguettes, multigrain, 9-grain, 10-grain, sour dough, Jewish Rye, hand-braided Challah, semolina, sun-dried tomato, and many more. The skilled bake-staff at Saffron also offers wholesale and advance group orders, and welcomes special event catering as well. (843-722-5588)
Dixie Supply Bakery & Cafe
Owned by a local Charleston couple with deep ancestral roots in the Lowcountry, Dixie Supply Bakery & Cafe serves up breakfast dishes that are as Southern as the name implies. You can find Dixie Supply on picturesque State Street in downtown Charleston, close by to the Charleston City Market and other popular sights and attractions. Starting your day at Dixie Supply means you'll be enjoying a breakfast that will fuel a full day of Charleston explorations, and a meal that won't break your budget. Opt for Lilly's Stuffed French Toast or Lowcountry Shrimp & Grits from the menu regulars, and don't miss checking out the many Dixie Supply daily and weekly specials, posted on their website! ((843) 722-5650)
Normandy Farm Artisan Bakery
A true bakery, Normandy Farm specializes in unique breads and has a wide variety to choose from, like the Palmetto Beer bread, which uses leftover grains from a local brewer and orange rosemary loaf, made with the freshest ingredients. A massive mural decorates the wall, greeting guests when they enter. The shop also serves muffins, scones, sandwiches, and sweets, including the irresistible raspberry pecan bar and salted caramel blonde - a twist on the classic brownie. The cafe is also in the midst of a new project that customers will love: roasting their own coffee. Be aware that they are close on Sundays. (843) 789-4509)
Bakehouse Bakery Cafe
Located right on East Bay Street, the Bakehouse Charleston feels like a modern cafe with a cozy southern flair. They serve up preservative-free delicacies that are baked fresh each day. In addition to coconut vanilla cookies, truffles, and muffins the shop specializes in unique beverages. Try the orange creams smoothie, toasted marshmallow cappuccino, cinnamon bun latte, or red velvet hot chocolate. A separate meeting room boasts a long table and over-sized bookshelf. The new-American style shop also whips up picture-perfect wedding cakes, pies, quiches, and tarts as well as locally-brewed beers. Bakehouse Charleston is open 7 days a week, and offers free WIFI--so you can linger as long as you'd like. ((843) 577-2180)
Cupcake Down South
What is it about cupcakes? We loved them when we were kids, and some of us never lost that affection. Luckily for us, expert cupcake makers are "opening shop" all over the country, and Charleston has its very own cupcake specialists: Cupcake Down South. Choosing from the array of flavors may prove to be difficult; depending on the day, you might try lemon-blueberry, best seller red velvet, praline, chocolate chip mint, cinnamon swirl, rocky road, with classic chocolate and vanilla versions available every day, all made from scratch. You'll find vegan cupcakes in store every Wednesday and Friday. Are you already a fan of Cupcake Down South? Book them for special event or wedding catering! (843-853-8181)
Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts
Run by Allison Smith, a graduate of the local culinary institute, Glazed Gourmet is so popular that the shop itself is often closes earlier than planned due to selling out of all of their delicious doughnuts and coffee! This sweet spot is open Tuesday through Friday beginning at 7am, and weekends beginning at 9, and it's highly advised to go early to beat the crowds, even if you're planning to make Glazed Gourmet's doughnuts your dessert. Why the word gourmet in their name? Glazed Gourmet sources their ingredients locally, and hand makes each and every doughnut with care. That means no preservatives, no frozen pre-made dough, no food coloring, and no artificial flavors. What's more, the 12 daily varieties of doughnuts are highly irresistible, with flavors such as Vegan Chocolate Mint, Apple Pie Cheddar, Mexican Chocolate, Sweet Potato and Maple Bacon making regular appearances. ((843) 577-5557)
Brown's Court Bakery
This neighborhood home-turned-bakeshop serves up some of the most talked-about bread in all of Charleston. You'll see Brown's Court bread and baked goods at local grocery stores, shops, and on many a fine restaurant menu. All the traditional break offerings are there, like Focaccia, Brioche, Challah, and a delicious French Baguette. There are baked goodies, too; think pastries like muffins, scones, and cookies. It's a nice little spot to enjoy a treat and a coffee when you're on the north side of downtown. Pull up a seat on the sunny Browns Court Bakery porch and your morning is made, Charleston style! (843-724-0833)
This wildly popular food truck opened a brick and mortar shop at 616 Meeting Street just north of downtown Charleston, and immediately began collecting regular customers. Selling a wide variety of either organic vanilla cake or whole wheat doughnuts, Diggity Doughnuts serves up off-the-wall flavors that change daily, and often sell out. Diggity Doughnuts always serves egg and dairy free doughnuts, and there is a new gluten-free flavor on the menu each day. Try one of these unexpected flavors: The Nutty Rooster with Sriarcha and peanut butter, Key Lime Pie, Maple & Brown Sugar, Cappuchino, The Starla strawberry and jalapeno flavor, Summer Blues lemon blueberry, or even Dill Pickle or Roasted Garlic flavors! Of course, classic chocolate and sugar icing doughnuts are available, too. Diggity Doughtnuts brings vegan desserts to the masses, alongside coffee, tea, and homemade chai tea, green juice and smoothies. (843-478-1615)
If muffins, quiche, scones and baked breads are your top breakfast choices, a visit to WildFlour Pastry just may be your ideal Charleston meal. Head down Spring Street, a part of Charleston's fastest growing foodie neighborhood, to WildFlour's unassuming little storefront. You'll likely smell the freshly baked goodies before you even step inside, and trust us, that's a good sign. Order a few things from the daily menu offerings, even if you're dining alone - WildFlour's variety of sweet and savory scones, rich and cheesy baked quiches, homemade granola bars and baked sweet breads will have you wanting to sample them all. If it's a Sunday, you're in luck - today's the only day you can get your hands on one of WildFlour's famous Sticky Buns! (843-327-2621)
This beige, white, and Robin's egg blue-colored bakery and dessert shop is small, but hard to miss among Cannon Street's residential buildings and businesses. Sugar Bakeshop has been a massive hit among both locals and visitors to Charleston since opening its doors in 2007, bringing in a growing circle of walk-in sweet lovers as well as special order party and event patrons. From day one, this uber-cute bakery has made local produce sourcing a priority, and the freshness of their ingredients is showcased in a major way among the flavors of their cakes and cupcakes. Call ahead to Sugar Bakeshop for a custom made celebratory cake or cupcake batch, or simply stroll into the shop for a taste of their regular and seasonal menu items, like the Vanilla Blueberry, Lime Curd Coconut, Strawberry and Orange Cupcakes. Tarts, cookies, and pies are also available on a grab-and-go and made-to-order basis daily. ((843) 579-2891)
About Clare Sweeney
A South Carolina native and avid locavore, Clare also ventured abroad to Spain and north to Boston before returning to Charleston and her beloved Lowcountry.
Clare works and plays in downtown Charleston, spending her days enjoying the city’s perpetually sunny weather, nearby beaches and ever-growing food and craft beer scene.
Follow Clare on Twitter @LocalExpertCHS for the latest in local happenings!
Read more about Clare Sweeney here.
Connect with Clare via: Twitter | Google+ | Pinterest