I’m a total sucker for fresh bread. I’ll throw down on just about any freshly baked carbohydrates — I’m not picky. In all fairness, I don’t often splurge on these refined delights because I try to stick to my healthy eating plan when I’m training, but I do make exceptions. I have to admit, my body feels better when I don’t eat gluten but sometimes, it’s too good to pass up. Thankfully, The Crumb Factory on Central Avenue is the perfect place to feed a gluten fix. (Sorry in advance to anyone with gluten allergies or intolerances. I appreciate your pain!) Between the artisan sourdough loaves, French pastries, numerous sandwiches, and giant salads, I can understand why this daytime café has such a cult following.
Love for Community
The Crumb Factory opened in 2021 in the space formerly occupied by Rae Rae’s Café in west St. Pete. It is spearheaded by husband and wife duo, Pablo and Katie Mardones, who bring nothing but pure passion for bread making to this quaint eatery. Pablo, originally from Chile, has years of experience in the worlds of food and hospitality. His artisan bread program at The Crumb Factory showcases a variety of items but he focuses on quality, scratch-made sourdough loaves. Pablo imported his bread oven from France to ensure the best leavening of his products. His wife, Katie, a Stetson Law graduate, says The Crumb Factory is the expression of her and Pablo’s love for one another and their commitment to the community.
From the moment you step inside the bakery, you’re met with yeasty aromas tangled within the scent of fresh coffee. I stopped in my tracks to take in the bakery case ladened with sourdough baguettes, multigrain loaves and croissants. But the carbs don’t stop there. House-made cruffins (a cross between a croissant and a muffin), scones, cinnamon buns, and sweetly-filled danishes also beckoned. I wanted everything.
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The Crumb Factory
I sampled a butter croissant ($4), and it was so soft and flaky, I swear I could taste the butter in every bite. I also tried the avocado toast ($10.50) served on mixed seed sourdough topped with bright beet hummus, fresh avocado mash, cucumber, tomato, toasted pumpkin seeds, and micrograms. It was out-of-this-world delicious with all of the fresh toppings, and the pumpkin seeds really brought out the flavor of the seeded bread. I ordered the caprese panini ($10) with fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil pesto, and balsamic glazed, which I highly recommend.
Their list of sandwiches includes everything from chicken salad, grilled cheese, Reubens, and Mediterranean-inspired eats for vegetarians and carnivores alike. And no meal is complete without a salad and The Crumb Factory’s Quinoa Salad (with fresh veggies, hard boiled eggs, and feta cheese, served with lemon dressing and sourdough points — $12).
In addition to café fare, they serve both hot/cold coffee and espresso drinks, as well as beer, wine, and tea. You can order online for pickup or get all your goodies delivered via GrubHub, Uber Eats, and Doordash.
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