The last couple of weeks have been extremely busy involving several trips up and down the road between Central Virginia and Hampton Roads. Thankfully, I was rewarded with dreary, rainy weather and a schedule that required absolutely nothing but relaxation the entire weekend. You guys don’t know (if you’ve ever been busy maybe you do understand 🙂 ) just how excited I was. I almost didn’t know what to do with myself. After sleeping in a bit, a luxury that I forgot existed, I decided to finally check out Artisans Bakery & Cafe located in downtown Portsmouth, VA.
With a rating of 4 out of 5 stars on Yelp and a 92% approval rating on Urbanspoon, I figured it wouldn’t be a waste of time. Artisans can be accessed off of exit 7 on I-264, a state highway that runs from Chesapeake through Portsmouth, Downtown Norfolk and on to Virginia Beach’s Oceanfront.
The bakery is housed in a renovated Queen Victorian house on Washington Street. Many of the adjacent properties seemed to also be beautiful renovated homes. There were a few blocks that were a bit sketchy, but nothing some common sense couldn’t remedy.
When you step inside the retail counter is situated in a room to your left while the baking or production area is to the right of the main hall. Gentle music plays in the background mixed with the sounds of the retail staff filling a few coffee orders here and there. My eyes immediately zoomed in on the display case of sweet and savory items. I wished I’d brought my laptop with me to get some writing done, but I left the house with the intent to buy goodies to enjoy at home. I purchased an assortment of items pictured below:
Chocolate Chip bread pudding – moist but firm so if you like yours more on the “pudding” side you may want to bypass that item.
Sweet Potato tart – tasty; not too sweet; heavy on the tart shell and light on the actual sweet potato
Cheesy Monkey muffins – cheesy greasy goodness
Almond Croissant – slightly almond (not overly) in flavor and once again not too sweet (my favorite of all the items in the box)
The other two items, peanut butter muffins and chocolate chip muffins didn’t stand out for me. I could bypass them on my next trip but I may give them each another try to further develop my opinion of them.
If you’re looking for a nice locally owned cafe/bakery to visit, please take the time to give Artisans Bakery & Cafe in Portsmouth, VA a chance. What’s pictured above is a very small selection of their wares. They offer different European style fresh baked bread and pastries daily. The cool atmosphere, great customer service and delicious treats should make your trip worth it.