Hagermann's Bakehouse Café
684 E. 11400 South, Draper ; 801-495-9332
A cafe that revolves around fresh bread for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Cuisine: Bakery, Cafe
Hours: M-F, 7 a.m.-6 p.m.; S, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
Reservations: Not accepted/necessary
Recommended Dishes: Cinnamon raisin pecan bread, turkey pomodoro sandwich, roast beef a la Chris, grilled portobello sandwich.
October 3, 2003
By Nancy Hobbs
In the middle of the night, while most of us are sound asleep, bakers at Hagermann's Bakehouse Café are just starting preparations for the next day's business. Even before the doors open for business at 6 a.m., the air is filled with the irresistible aroma of fresh baked bread and the sweet scent of cinnamon in hot-from-the-oven rolls.
By the time the first customers arrive, breakfast pastries, baked scones and muffins are warm and waiting. The brewed coffee is fresh and hot, and frothy lattes are quickly made to order.
While "breakfast" is being served, preparations are under way for lunch's array of sandwiches on nearly a dozen varieties of artisan bread, cooked in the "Old World" style using a natural fermentation process that takes three days and doesn't rely on yeast.
This café that revolves around fresh bread is the concept of Chris Riley, a former baker at Great Harvest who had eyes for something bigger. He traveled around the country to other artisan bread bakeries and melded all of his favorite elements into Hagermann's, which has been successful enough in just a few months to warrant the opening of another location later this month in Sugar House.
"I didn't want to use my own name, because then people would come once a year for Irish soda bread," quipped Riley. The image of Hagermann on the back of company T-shirts also is fabricated, but is "loosely based" on Riley's father, Dave, an amiable fixture in the Draper café, always quick to welcome customers and introduce newcomers to the layout and offerings.
If it's not lunchtime, when the café fills up and the sandwich line wends by the retail shelves filled with jams and jellies, fancy condiments and packaged soup mixes, Dave Riley will give you a quick oral and tasting tour of more kinds of bread than one can possibly keep track of. Several stand out as memorable, including the Italian peasant bread that has a wonderful texture and taste for sandwiches, the honey whole wheat with just a smidgen of honey as sweetener, and Jill's garlic jack, full of onions, garlic, a lot (about a half-pound) of jack cheese, and asiago cheese on top. Certainly not low in cholesterol, but big in cheesy flavor.
Also tasty is the cinnamon raisin pecan bread, which Dave Riley claims makes the best French toast in town. Loaves to take home run from $3.50 to $5.25.
For lunch or dinner, you will want to head straight to the sandwich and soup counter, where the menu of specialty sandwiches is displayed. All of the "usuals" are there, except that Chris Riley, who has given himself the title "head cheese," claims they're really not usual.
Turkey breasts and prime beef roasts are massaged, marinated and roasted on site every morning, rather than using packaged precooked meats, he says. And having tried roast beef and turkey sandwiches, the meat is agreeably delicious. But probably more unique from the consumer point of view are some of the condiments, from addictive slow-roasted tomatoes to several fruit-based jalapeno jellies and a vegan roasted garlic "yum" sauce that Riley discovered in Oregon.
My favorite sandwich, so far, is the turkey pomodoro, made with the fresh roasted turkey, havarti cheese, slow-roasted tomatoes and a cranberry jalapeno jelly on Italian peasant bread -- not grilled. Though admittedly a little leery about the jelly, it was added sparingly enough to add just a bit of sweetness and a little zing. It certainly wasn't tongue-searing hot, as some fear from the mention of jalapeno.
A similar sensation comes from the apricot jalapeno jelly on the roast beef a la Chris. The meat and jelly are joined by Swiss cheese, red onions, cucumbers, lettuce and, once again, delectable slow-roasted tomatoes, all piled on Jill's garlic jack bread. Both those sandwiches are $6.25 for a half (which looks a lot like a whole sandwich) and $2 more for the whole, which could easily feed two lighter eaters.
Even the smoked black forest ham sandwich has its jelly complement: pineapple jalapeno. It is served on a soft, luscious farm bread with Swiss cheese, tomato and lettuce.
The grilled portobello sandwich is also delicious, stacked with mozzarella, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and a balsamic vinaigrette served on a ciabatta roll, except that the rolls weren't available the day of our visit, so it was the customer's choice. Customers can, in fact, substitute any bread for the one on the menu, which serves mostly as a suggestion board; diners can add or delete to their choosing as their sandwich is being prepared, or request something as simple as grilled cheese for the kids.
Sandwiches, all of which are offered grilled or not, range from $4.25 to $6.25 for a half; $6.25 to $8.25 for a whole. The prices are higher than at a lot of sandwich shops, Riley admitted, but he blames it on the elevated prices of his fresh meats, astronomically priced -- but priceless -- slow-roasted tomatoes, and funky boutique condiments.
It's hard to leave the counter without something for dessert, especially when you find yourself at the register staring into a display case full of cookies, coconut bars, brownies and blondies, which are delicious brownie-like treats made with white chocolate.
And then, of course, you're going to want a coffee to go with that cookie. All of Hagermann's coffee drinks -- regular brews and specialty espressos and lattes -- are made with local Millcreek Coffee Roasters beans. That relationship has been a fortuitous one for Riley, who found himself being offered the site of the Millcreek Coffee Roasters shop at 1045 E. 2100 South to expand his venture.
With a bagel boiler already in place, Riley said fresh-boiled bagels -- not frozen and steamed, as is common -- will be made there daily, in addition to the sandwiches and, as the weather cools, a couple of daily soups. The new location is scheduled to open Oct. 14.