Fresh Bread, Cookies Alert: Bakery 55 Opens In Back of Labatt House

Originally Published in The Buffalo News
April 17, 2019
By Ben Tsujimoto

For workers and residents by Canalside and KeyBank Center, the Harborcenter Tim Hortons has been the primary option for baked goods and coffee.

Thanks to Monday’s grand opening of Bakery 55, situated in the rear of Labatt House, which also contains Labatt Brew House and the Draft Room, there’s now a compelling alternative, replete with fresh bread, giant cookies, a hard-to-find coffee brand, plus breakfast and lunch options.

Kristina O’Connor, area general manager for TopShelf Management’s quick-service restaurants – the Healthy Scratch, Tim Hortons Harborcenter and now Bakery 55, explained the value of the new enterprise.

“We’ve done full-service restaurants, quick-service restaurants, and even though this falls under quick-service restaurant, it’s the first bakery,” said O’Connor, whose employer is an affiliate of Pegula Sports & Entertainment. “There’s an art behind it, from the breads to different baked goods.”

For workers and residents by Canalside and KeyBank Center, the Harborcenter Tim Hortons has been the primary option for baked goods and coffee.

Thanks to Monday’s grand opening of Bakery 55, situated in the rear of Labatt House, which also contains Labatt Brew House and the Draft Room, there’s now a compelling alternative, replete with fresh bread, giant cookies, a hard-to-find coffee brand, plus breakfast and lunch options.

Kristina O’Connor, area general manager for TopShelf Management’s quick-service restaurants – the Healthy Scratch, Tim Hortons Harborcenter and now Bakery 55, explained the value of the new enterprise.

“We’ve done full-service restaurants, quick-service restaurants, and even though this falls under quick-service restaurant, it’s the first bakery,” said O’Connor, whose employer is an affiliate of Pegula Sports & Entertainment. “There’s an art behind it, from the breads to different baked goods.”

Shortly after the Draft Room opened last fall, Bakery 55 began as a production site for the new bar-restaurant, as well as for 716 Food & Sport and the Healthy Scratch. TopShelf Management hired a crew with previous experience in bakeries, or with culinary degrees, to speed up the process. Now, Bakery 55 is moving full bore as a stand-alone business while also supplying its sister brands.

There are two entrances to the bakery, the first from Perry Street, walking by the brewing operations of Labatt Brew House, past two bar areas and through the rear door with a sign above, immediately next to the directions for the restrooms. The quicker entry is from behind Labatt House, walking through the beer garden and one of two marked doors.

Parking options are fairly abundant, with spots along Perry and Illinois streets, as well as curb parking in front of KeyBank Center (unless there’s an event). Short-term parking will be available in the lot behind Labatt House, too, accessible from Illinois Street. If all else fails, there’s parking in the ramp next to KeyBank Center for $3.

Despite its location in a building with two other food-and-drink businesses, O’Connor sees Bakery 55 as a singular entity, a destination more than an accessory.

“I picture it to be stand-alone,” she said. “Once people know that we’re here, it will be the bakery that brings them, for the morning cup of coffee or the loaf of bread.”

4 reasons to try Bakery 55

• The most eye-catching of the bakery’s offerings are the Crisp, a three-layer delicacy with a fudge brownie base, a marshmallow and peanuts blend in the middle, topped with chocolate rice crisps, peanut butter and a peanut butter cup. It’s dense, and most enjoyable when all three layers are involved in a single bite.

Cinnamon rolls, which maintain a soft texture thanks to a brioche-like base, also stand out.

• Many of Bakery 55’s desserts rotate daily, but cookies will always be available. Giant chocolate chip cookies, with over-sized chocolate chunks, and peanut butter cup cookies were available during our visit, although O’Connor teased the Cobblestone Cookie, the No. 1 seller that’s a take on a chocolate chip cookie, but with “everything but the kitchen sink.” (Thankfully, there’s no sink in the cookies).

• Bakery 55 sources its coffee from La Colombe, a Philadelphia-based business, and O’Connor believes that her business is the only one in Buffalo to serve it. La Colombe is available in slow drip, too, with a variety of blends: dark, light and medium roast, to start, with seasonal choices dependent on the provider.

For workers and residents by Canalside and KeyBank Center, the Harborcenter Tim Hortons has been the primary option for baked goods and coffee.

Thanks to Monday’s grand opening of Bakery 55, situated in the rear of Labatt House, which also contains Labatt Brew House and the Draft Room, there’s now a compelling alternative, replete with fresh bread, giant cookies, a hard-to-find coffee brand, plus breakfast and lunch options.

Kristina O’Connor, area general manager for TopShelf Management’s quick-service restaurants – the Healthy Scratch, Tim Hortons Harborcenter and now Bakery 55, explained the value of the new enterprise.

“We’ve done full-service restaurants, quick-service restaurants, and even though this falls under quick-service restaurant, it’s the first bakery,” said O’Connor, whose employer is an affiliate of Pegula Sports & Entertainment. “There’s an art behind it, from the breads to different baked goods.”

Loaves of bread are for sale from Bakery 55, in the rear of Labatt House. (Ben Tsujimoto/Buffalo News)

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Shortly after the Draft Room opened last fall, Bakery 55 began as a production site for the new bar-restaurant, as well as for 716 Food & Sport and the Healthy Scratch. TopShelf Management hired a crew with previous experience in bakeries, or with culinary degrees, to speed up the process. Now, Bakery 55 is moving full bore as a stand-alone business while also supplying its sister brands.

There are two entrances to the bakery, the first from Perry Street, walking by the brewing operations of Labatt Brew House, past two bar areas and through the rear door with a sign above, immediately next to the directions for the restrooms. The quicker entry is from behind Labatt House, walking through the beer garden and one of two marked doors.

Parking options are fairly abundant, with spots along Perry and Illinois streets, as well as curb parking in front of KeyBank Center (unless there’s an event). Short-term parking will be available in the lot behind Labatt House, too, accessible from Illinois Street. If all else fails, there’s parking in the ramp next to KeyBank Center for $3.

The drink menu from Bakery 55 stems from La Colombe Coffee Roasters out of Philadelphia, Pa. (Ben Tsujimoto/Buffalo News)

Despite its location in a building with two other food-and-drink businesses, O’Connor sees Bakery 55 as a singular entity, a destination more than an accessory.

“I picture it to be stand-alone,” she said. “Once people know that we’re here, it will be the bakery that brings them, for the morning cup of coffee or the loaf of bread.”

4 reasons to try Bakery 55

• The most eye-catching of the bakery’s offerings are the Crisp, a three-layer delicacy with a fudge brownie base, a marshmallow and peanuts blend in the middle, topped with chocolate rice crisps, peanut butter and a peanut butter cup. It’s dense, and most enjoyable when all three layers are involved in a single bite.

Cinnamon rolls, which maintain a soft texture thanks to a brioche-like base, also stand out.

• Many of Bakery 55’s desserts rotate daily, but cookies will always be available. Giant chocolate chip cookies, with over-sized chocolate chunks, and peanut butter cup cookies were available during our visit, although O’Connor teased the Cobblestone Cookie, the No. 1 seller that’s a take on a chocolate chip cookie, but with “everything but the kitchen sink.” (Thankfully, there’s no sink in the cookies).

• Bakery 55 sources its coffee from La Colombe, a Philadelphia-based business, and O’Connor believes that her business is the only one in Buffalo to serve it. La Colombe is available in slow drip, too, with a variety of blends: dark, light and medium roast, to start, with seasonal choices dependent on the provider.

• Loaves of bread – French, nine-grain wheat and rye – are available to go, for $5.75. Brioche, kaiser and pretzel rolls are among the selections, too. The bakery seats only six customers, but the daily choice of two bialy (savory stuffed breads) – garlic Parmesan and barbecue chicken, at our visit – and the quiche can be warmed upon request.

INFO: Bakery 55, 55 Illinois St., in the rear of the Labatt House. Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. The bakery will remain open until 7 p.m. on KeyBank Center event nights. 314-0302.