The highly-anticipated East Durham Bake Shop (originally East Durham Pie Company) opened its doors to a welcoming clientele this week. From the decor to the treats to the smiling staff, this bright new bakery-cafe exceeds expectations.
The Bake Shop
From its conception as a certified home kitchen in 2015, East Durham Pie Company quickly gained many loyal patrons. Its founder, Ali Rudel, launched a Kickstarter campaign in July of 2016 to build a brick and mortar business in the Old East Durham commercial district. The result is East Durham Bake Shop, a welcoming space built with loving touches. The business is a Durham Living Wage Project Certified Employer, and the Bake Shop team is accommodating to all who walk in the door.
Made in-house, your baked treats can be enjoyed in the cafe or on the go. A large community table stands on one side of the cafe, and smaller cafe tables and benches surround the rest of the shop. High chairs are available for those with children.
Photo: Tony Belch, Best of the Bull
Must-try Menu Items
Hard-to-resist pies are available by the slice, but a variety of other baked goods are also deliciously satisfying. Warm your heart with a butter or chocolate croissant or snag a sweet morning bun or madeleine. Try the cobbler with a dollop of whipped cream. Need something savory? The scones and savory pies are perfect for a quick snack or lunch bite.
The shop brews coffee from Carrboro Coffee Roasters, and they offer an array of coffee and tea beverages. The chai latte is perfect choice for a chilly morning.
Children’s Reading Area Photo: Katelyn Belch, Best of the Bull
Details We Love
One of the more unique features of East Durham Bake Shop is its open kitchen where you can watch Ali and the other baking staff hard at work crafting their delicious pies and pastries. The pastel paints and tiles of the shop’s interior make for a cozy, positive vibe. Books in the shop are available to browse, or you can bring your own to read as you sip a latte! A floral couch and hanging world map give the cafe even more color, and the flowers atop tables and shelves offer the perfect welcoming touch.
A bulletin board near the register offers inspiration for “Simple Acts of Kindness…Just Because.” These include offerings such as “a slice of pie to break your Tinder date ice,” or “coffee for a book lover.” The Bake Shop draws a friendly neighborhood crowd, morning and afternoon.
Photo: Katelyn Belch, Best of the Bull
The Bake Shop is in walking distance to other Old East Durham gems such as Fuss & Bother, a salon started by former Rock Paper Scissors stylist Christina Pelech. Take a walk north on Driver Street with your coffee and pass charming historic buildings like the East Durham Graded School, now Maureen Joy Charter School. Bright building murals around the area pay homage to former Old East Durham businesses such as Joe’s Diner. Don’t miss the refurbished Ashley’s Corner advertisement on the south side of the Bake Shop’s brick building. If you want to venture a little further after you’ve enjoyed your bakery treat, ramble down to Pettigrew Street to reach the Durham Green Flea Market, a year-round flea market with a variety of surprises in store.
East Durham Bake Shop is open Tuesday-Sunday, 7am-5pm on weekdays, 8am-3pm on Saturdays, and 9am-3pm on Sundays.
Article by Sarah Lasseter and photos by Katelyn & Tony Belch