Hands down, one of the coolest things about my blog is the interesting people I get to meet. Alex McDaniel is one of those people. Alex is the owner of the Grateful Bread Company in Smyrna, GA. A transplant from Chicago, Alex originally worked in management at the Corner Bakery and the Buckhead Bread Company, before venturing out on his own, opening the Bagel Bin in Vinings. It was open for several years during which Alex grew the wholesale side of the business. Before long, the wholesale business outgrew the small size of The Bagel Bin.
What restaurants does Grateful Bread supply to in Atlanta:
Fast forward a couple years to an nondescript building in a strip mall in the Smynings area of town. The Grateful Bread Company quietly bakes its bread, supplying many restaurants and hotels in Atlanta with their bread, bagels and pastries, all with only 12 employees. Chances are, you’ve tasted their bread without even knowing it. They supply Muss and Turner’s, Food 101, Einstein’s, Marietta Country Club, Horseradish Grill, several Marriott hotels and just recently added Marlow’s Taverns to their roster among other restaurants and hotels in the Greater Atlanta area.
The Grateful Bread Company reached out to me and asked me to stop by and sample some of their bread.
Never being one who could stick to an Atkins diet (I tried it once and it lasted about 2 days), I was more than happy to oblige. I visited early one afternoon and although the bakery was quiet, (the bakers don’t arrive until later in the evening) the smell of fresh baked bread was intoxicating, making my empty stomach growl.
I was greeted the store’s owner Alex, who was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to give me a tour of the bakery.
Talk about someone who really has a passion for what he does. This guy gets giddy just talking about his products. He even had me intrigued while describing his prized machine – the Volumetric Divider. I really got a quick education in learning about the process of baking bread. My only regret is I wasn’t able to see the action. Bakers come in at 5 and the forming and baking goes on until about 2 or 3 AM when the trucks get loaded up for delivery.
After my tour, I was treated to some bread samples. First, I tasted the Olive bread (with real olives baked right into it). Alex tells me that is sliced and set atop a salad for one of their customers. Then I had the jalapeno cheese roll which was huge and I love that you can actually see the cheese in the roll -not just a “cheese flavoring”. This one had my nose running (in a good way).
The store is only open to the public on Thursdays and Fridays, so you’ll have to plan your visit around those two days if you want to get your hands on some of their freshly baked bread.
The difference between the bread at the Grateful Bread company and what you’d find at your local grocer is that there are no preservatives in the bread. So after a couple days, this bread will start to go bad.
That is why The Grateful Bread company delivers daily to many of their customers.