New Christiansburg cafe set to open New Year’s Day
CHRISTIANSBURG — This summer, Donna Speaks planned to blend traditional Southern cooking with some heavy French influence and a dash of a classic courtroom novel in her creation, The Mockingbird Cafe and Bakery.
Speaks had hoped to open the breakfast and lunch venue in July, but after a series of building modifications to transform the 1000-square-foot space – including the installation of a new exhaust system – the road to opening became longer than originally thought, Speaks said.
On Tuesday, Speaks plans to see that road’s end, as the bakery located across from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office at 4 W. Main St. officially opens for business.
Though the venue’s opening will mark the completion of one of Speaks’ dreams, she admitted the location wasn’t originally her idea, but rather stemmed from building owner, Bob Poff, who approached her after spotting her working at the Draper Mercantile in the fall of 2011.
After more than 10 years of working in bakeries owned by others, including Our Daily Bread, Coffee Depot and Draper Mercantile, Speaks decided she wanted to be the one calling the shots and took off with Poff’s idea.
Speaks said the bakery will boast the traditions of French baking, while celebrating what’s good about the southern United States.
The restaurant will feature a traditional glass display cabinet in the front of the shop and seating for up to 15 people, much of which will be around a 12-seat community table, which Speaks said was very European.
Speaks said the menu will feature many of the foods she grew up with in Southwest Virginia, as well as many of the French-influenced dishes she learned to create during her time working with pastry chef Thierry Tellier at Our Daily Bread.
Those foreign dishes will be highlighted by a variety of macaroons, French-layer salad, and Speaks’ croissants.
Speaks’ Southern roots will be represented through items such as pimento cheese sandwiches, a jerk-seasoned pulled-pork sandwich on “Moonshine bread,” and biscuits and gravy, featuring a beef roast-based gravy, one of Speaks’ family traditions.
As for the dash of the dramatic courtroom novel, Speaks said plenty of copies of “To Kill a Mockingbird” will be available throughout the bakery.
Mockingbird Cafe and Bakery will be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Roanoke Times | 381-1643
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