Breadshed Cafe: Baked Goods from Scratch

Breadshed Cafe, 1122 N. Broadway, Knoxville, April 2016

Breadshed Cafe, 1322 N. Broadway, Knoxville, April 2016

When I wrote about the Juice Box a couple of weeks ago, I was reminded that I’ve never written about their neighbor in the Broadway building. Breadshed Cafe started operation at that address just over a year ago and became an instant hit with commuters, nearby businesses and the Old North and Fourth and Gill neighborhoods. Prior to that, Breadshed baked goods were found at the Market Square Farmers’ Market where you’ll find them both Wednesdays and Saturdays when the market starts this year (next week).

I spoke with owner Kymberle Kaser who gave me a bit of the background. She previously operated Sweet Delights and she did Live at Five (before it was at four) on WBIR for a time. It was her father who propelled her into the business by building a space for her to cook. She suspects he wanted more of his favorite banana nut bread. It’s her father you see on the Breadshed logo.

Breadshed Cafe, 1122 N. Broadway, Knoxville, April 2016

Breadshed Cafe, 1322 N. Broadway, Knoxville, April 2016

Breadshed Cafe, 1122 N. Broadway, Knoxville, April 2016

Breadshed Cafe, 1322 N. Broadway, Knoxville, April 2016

After cooking her foods in the kitchen at Ijams for a period, she had to scramble to find a place when they decided to close their kitchen facility. Friends began helping her search for a location and 1322 N. Broadway came open when a previous tenant suddenly vacated. The cafe was a hit from the beginning, with a line so long on opening day that friends had to jump behind the counter to help deal with the crowds. It was a good thing it was immediately successful, because Kymberle had put everything she had into opening. She said she’s that kind of person – all in and assuming it will work. It has.

Purity of ingredients and making everything from scratch are constant themes when she talks about the food. Everything is “chemical free,” and non-GMO. Her sugar is sourced  from a Mexican farm which is solar powered. She composts and recycles virtually everything, producing less than a bag of trash each day. She tries extremely hard not to waste any food.

That she makes everything from scratch is obvious to any visitor as the entire kitchen – ingredients and all – are on display. She says the only thing she doesn’t make by hand is her filo dough, which she says is simply too labor intensive. Otherwise, whether it is a panini or a puff pastry, everything is made by her – even down to the vanilla extract she uses. She’s currently in need of a good pastry chef because the demand is more than she can meet.

Breadshed Cafe, 1122 N. Broadway, Knoxville, April 2016

Breadshed Cafe, 1322 N. Broadway, Knoxville, April 2016

Originally from Vero Beach, Florida, her father fell in love with the mountains on a vacation and decided to move the family here. They moved to Walland during her middle school years, and after a bit of moving about as an adult (she lived in Haiti for a year), she returned to the area, moving to Knoxville in 2007. For the last couple of years she’s been a resident of the Old North neighborhood.

She said food preparation is a gift that she realized she had early. She did have a corporate job at one point, but walked away because her heart wasn’t there. Affirming her gift are numerous stories: A Parisian man asked her to make him a baguette and proclaimed it as close to one from home as he had eaten in the US. A visitor from New York said his sandwich was the most like one he would get in New York and a customer at K-brew said he hadn’t smelled the kinds of baking smells coming from Breadshed since he was a child in Italy.

She enjoys pushing people’s palates and doing things differently than people might be used to. She said outside one small misstep, everything she’s made has found a following. The item that never caught on was an open-topped vegetable sandwich. Still, she intends to continue pushing local tastes forward and has plans to expand at some point in the future. She wants to do things that no one else is doing.

Breadshed Cafe, 1122 N. Broadway, Knoxville, April 2016

Breadshed Cafe, 1322 N. Broadway, Knoxville, April 2016

Breadshed Cafe, 1122 N. Broadway, Knoxville, April 2016

Breadshed Cafe, 1322 N. Broadway, Knoxville, April 2016

Very self-reliant, she grinds her own rye and wheat and insists what she’s accomplished others, “can do if you work hard.” In addition to being very careful not to waste food, she also barters with farmers at the market, often exchanging her bread for their fresh vegetables, which she uses in her food. She works with Spring Creek Farm, A Place of the Heart and others. You won’t find her seasonal menu shift until crops actually start coming in this summer.

In addition to “true artisanal small batch breads,” which include five different gluten free breads made in-house, she also offers a wide range of other foods, including breakfast foods, salads, rotating soups and eleven different “Slap Your Mama Amazing Paninis.” And then there are the amazing pastries. She plans to introduce sourdough bread in the near future.

Of course, my readers know I always ask about the coffee. While I didn’t have a chance to sample it, Kymberle assured me it is very high quality. She works with Javerde Coffee, a local roaster who travels to purchase his beans directly from his sources. She also has a selection of local teas and, like everything else, she assures me her drinks are chemical-free just like her food.

Owner Kymberle Kaser, Breadshed Cafe, 1122 N. Broadway, Knoxville, April 2016

Owner Kymberle Kaser, Breadshed Cafe, 1322 N. Broadway, Knoxville, April 2016

Current employees include Beezer and Charlotte, along with Kymberle’s son Zech. He’ll be leaving for the navy in a few months, but with the open kitchen, customers will quickly get to know future employees. Pass this article on if you know a good pastry chef. Check out their Facebook Page (and give them a “like”) for the latest news on the cafe. You’ll find them open Monday through Saturday from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

Comments

  1. Hmm. 1.5 mile walk from Market Square. I’ve never walked out that way on Broadway, but maybe now I’ll have to give it a try.

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      So far I’ve given you two reasons to walk to that specific building. But wait, there’s more . . .

  2. Wow! Reading that menu made me want to drive there right now. A visit is certainly in my near future plans. Thanks, Alan for reviewing another jewel of Knoxville.

  3. “Chemical free and non-GMO”. Sorry, won’t be spending a dime here. Chemical-free is a buzzword. All food is made up of chemicals, so news flash, nothing you eat is chemical free. Avoiding GMOs and pretending that there’s something bad about “chemicals” just feeds anti-science misinformation/hysteria and there’s already too much of that going around when it comes to food. Gain some integrity, drop the deceptive marketing choices, and I’ll be happy to try out this business.

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      Interesting. I’m not a science person, so I’ll let others fight this fight. Still, there is a difference between “all food is made up of chemicals” and using food that has been grown with chemical fertilizers, sprayed with chemical pesticides and preserved by added chemicals, right? I hope I’m not being hysterical to see those things as fundamentally different.

  4. Kymberle Kaser says

    Sorry I did not speak correctly. GMO’s are a real thing. If a person decides to reduce their intake of said GMO’s that is their right and should not be chastised for it. As far as the use of my word chemical, I specifically meant that I do business with my vendors at the farmer’s market and there are, whether you believe it or not, harmful pesticides versus human friendly pesticides to spray on your vegetables and fruit. Processing and factory farming is a huge thing and it is, in my opinion, much better for humans and the environment to shop for your ingredients locally. If you do not believe that, that is your right and my store isn’t right for you. My store is free of pesticides and harmful chemicals – sorry I do not know all these big science names – and I try to be mindful of waste and what I put into my food. I agree with you about the marketing hype and it makes me very mad, that is why I go to great lengths to be the example of what a lot of business pretend to be. It infuriates me. I apologize that i do not use the word correctly. If you want to talk further, come say hello. I enjoy respectful discussions, however if you are going to judge and be ugly, then no. I am also for everyone to live life how they chose. Regardless if I agree or not. …and PS it isn’t cool to judge or stereo type any store or any person that you have not met or experienced.

  5. Kymberle baked bread at for my restaurant for a time and I adore her! Her energy is electric and will infect anyone with positivity. My experience with her was great! I hope you will continue to give her business a try! By the way, I can attest to her sincerety regarding her beliefs about ingredients. It’s one of the reasons I chose her to bake for me. Believe me she means every word she says!

  6. Chris Eaker says

    Sounds great. I can’t eat too many baked goods of any type because it makes my gut unhappy, but I LOVE them nonetheless. I will have to stop in and try it.

    And I am amazed that Javerde is still in business. Just when you think you will never hear that name again, they pop up somewhere else. I used to love going to their little stand in West Town Mall and then their coffee shop on Middlebrook. This is another reason to stop in — to get some great Javerde coffee!

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