Snapshot: Bread's rise

Forget spongy dinner rolls and stodgy pats of butter. Bright, unique items—some in imaginative shapes and flavors—are filling up the bread basket these days.

New York City

Commerce makes no secret of its New York location. In a shout out to the city’s street vendors, it serves homemade pretzels, baked fresh every day, along with more typical items such as brioche and ciabatta. Thanks to strong demand, the restaurant has doubled its production of the braided treats since it opened in February. “We wanted to have something that was familiar, American, good and fun,” says chef Harold Moore. “They take you to a place in your mind, like Yankee Stadium.”

Café Polonia

The bread isn’t what’s unique about the pre-meal freebie at this Polish restaurant—it’s the spread. Homemade lard, made fresh every day from fried pork fat, onions and garlic, is served alongside rye bread in traditional fashion. Called “smalec” in Polish, it is used instead of butter in many eateries in Poland.

Washington, D.C.

The Louisiana-inspired cuisine here does not stop at the appetizers and entrees listed on the menu. The bread basket includes buttermilk biscuits, served alongside Creole cream cheese and pepper jelly. All of the components are made in house, and the cream cheese is whipped with buttermilk, salt and lemon juice daily.


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