If you’ve read this blog for a while, you’ve probably noticed that I usually go out to eat only when I’m on vacation. It’s rare that I hit up a restaurant while I’m home. In a land of diners and “bar & grill” places, I always assumed it was too much of a hassle to secure a good vegan option.
All Good Bakers once again proved me wrong. I’ve been uncovering more and more veg-friendly locations around my area in the recent past and, having discovered AGB’s table at the Harvest Festival last fall, I knew I had to try out their retail location at 160 Quail St. in Albany, NY.
Nick and Britin Foster settled on the name All Good Bakers in 2009, though they’d been selling fresh, homemade breads and baked goods under various names since 2004. At first they sold mostly through farmer’s markets until various changes in their business model led them to open their storefront in April of 2011. You can read the full text of my interview with Britin here. She gives great insight into the history and values of AGB, as well as what it’s like to run the Community Supported extension of their farmer’s market presence.
Their retail location is so cute! Nick and Britin have really made the most of the small space they have available. Everything is organized well and the decor–including a giant foam piece of bread–gives off a comfortable, eclectic vibe. The day I went there with a friend, the pasty case was well stocked, with peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, huge cinnamon buns, and brown rice energy treats as the vegan options.
See those? That’s what first turned me on to AGB at the Harvest Fest. I’m not 100% sure of every ingredient, but I tasted peanut butter, what appeared to be sunflower seeds, chocolate chips, and puffed brown rice. At $1 each, it’s sort of like stealing. Because they taste way too good to only cost $1!
But I was there for lunch, so I passed on baked goods at first in favor of the vegan sandwich. Each week, AGB offers a different vegan sandwich option depending on what produce has come in from local farms. (They source as many of their ingredients as they can from local farms and mills, aiming for organic whenever possible.) That day it was fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, and sprouts on hearty homemade bread with homemade vegan aioli.
And when I say fresh, I mean fresh. The sandwich was made to order and every component was delicious. I especially enjoyed the unique summer squash and zucchini “haystack” that came as a side. It was made up of matchstick slices of raw squash tied around with the green part of a scallion and drizzled with homemade peanut sauce. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love peanut sauce, and this stuff was nothing short of amazing. I think I forgot a good chunk of my table manners in an effort to get every last drop off the plate.
Speaking of plates, I liked the presentation of both sandwich and side. I’m a sucker for good kitchen stuff, including dishes and flatware, so I got a big kick out of the square plates. There was also a collection of mugs up near the counter, where fair trade coffee is available. It’s only $1 if you bring your own mug!
After lunch, I went back to get a couple of baked goods. My mom had requested the thing that made her an AGB fan: one of the big vegan cinnamon buns. Trust me, these cinnamon buns are epic. I got myself a vegan cookie and an energy treat, but of course couldn’t leave without trying at least part of the cookie. Like everything else, it was fresh and had a great flavor. Moist and chewy with little bits of chocolate…that’s my kind of cookie.
Two big thumbs up for All Good Bakers! The food is good, the atmosphere is relaxing, and the prices are great. If you’re in the area and want to stop by, check out their weekly specials page for what’s on the menu! Hours are 11-6 on Friday, 10-4 on Saturday, and 10-2 on Sunday. You can Like them on Facebook here.
UPDATE: All Good Bakers has since closed, and I’m still sad about it! Miss them like crazy.