The Village Bread Cafe

by Oliver Dodd
The Village Bread Cafe appeared out of nowhere just over a year ago, tucked into an industrial park, half a mile north of where US 1 meets University. One wouldn’t expect a restaurant located in an area such as this to acquire much of a following but in the relatively short time since opening they’ve been successful enough to open two more branches; one in Mandarin, the other at downtown Jacksonville’s most infamous gathering place: the Landing.
A good loaf of fresh bread is one of the finest, most enjoyable food items in existence. All one needs is to look at the lines outside the French Pantry any weekday at lunchtime for evidence to support this claim. However, bread is also one of the easiest things to get wrong and decent bakeries are few and far between, particularly around these parts. I’ve been burned far too many times by the promise of delicious baked goods only to be met with mediocre or just plain bad results. So in order to prevent myself from being too disappointed, I approach any self-styled bakery with a mixture of hope and trepidation.
Thankfully, the Village Bread Cafe delivers on its promises with some rather good bread. If you order in you’ll be treated to some bread and dipping oil which can at times be my favorite part of the meal.
The sandwiches are full of fresh, tasty ingredients and good quality deli meat. They’re big too; big enough to eat in two sittings. My only disappointment came when I ended up getting white bread when I was certain that it was supposed to be wheat, but it could very well have been my mistake and the bread still tasted great. They have some really great looking salads as well.
This is quite out of character for me, but if there’s one recommendation I can make regarding food at the Village Bread Cafe, it’s that you should get an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. And when they ask you if you want it warmed up, you should say yes. Then you should take this dinner plate sized cookie back to your table and eat it right away. I can rarely identify when people lustily reminisce about past desserts; most confections don’t do anything for me. But if they were all as amazing as this cookie, I wouldn’t always be turning my nose up at the dessert menu.
This is a promising place and I’m eager to see how their rapid growth and success is going to play out. I look forward to going back and trying a few more of the enticing menu items. Perhaps I’ll pick up a few more cookies while I’m at it.