By: Tom Fink | Category: Restaurants | Issue: December 2019
Many Front Porch Bakery customers are like family, as the northeast Oklahoma bakery and smoke house’s Amish-like cookies, cakes, pies, jams, breads and more keep customers coming back for more.
Just north of Claremore, and along State Highway 66 sits the little bakery that could.
For nearly 20 years, motorists who have stopped at the off-the-beaten-path bakery have been treated to uniquely homemade and uniquely delicious items – from cookies and cakes to cream pies, bread loaves, dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls and more – all made in the traditional Amish style.
But over the years, the growing popularity of the family-owned and operated bakery has caused it to outgrow the confines of its original building, and this December, the Front Porch Bakery & Smoke House moved into a new, larger building to better serve its customers.
“We outgrew the (old) building – simply put,” said Melissa Holt, Front Porch Bakery owner. “Shortly after we purchased the business, we added a smokehouse, which has proven to be extremely popular, and with which came several new opportunities, including catering – we do a lot of catering for weddings, luncheons, events, etc.
Front Porch Bakery & Smoke House owner Melissa Holt co-owns the former Ol Dutchman’s Bakery in Claremore with her husband, Matt.
“I think the bakery brought people in to discover the smokehouse, and after we opened the smokehouse, it brought people in who discovered the bakery – one side of the business helped the other to grow, and both grew to the point that there was no way we could stay in the original (small) building,” she said.
Holt said she and husband, Matt purchased the bakery in 2015, when it was the Ol Dutchman’s Bakery, and with it, all the traditional Amish recipes. By Labor Day of that same year, the couple added a smokehouse because of customer interest, and since then, the business has only continued to grow.
“Matt and I were already looking for a new adventure, and I like to tell people I stopped at the bakery to get a pie for my mom’s birthday, and by the next week, we owned the bakery,” she laughed. “Just like that, our journey began by the grace of God, and it’s been so successful, we had to expand operations.”
The original building, which was 700 square feet in size, left little room for baked item displays and the kitchen – a problem solved with the new 2,400 square foot building, which allows for improved showroom space, product display, an updated aesthetic, and additional space for customers and staff alike.
“We really built a big kitchen (in the new building) – we were just on top of each other in the old kitchen,” she said. “We’re going to be adding a sandwich shop as well as a wider variety of lunch options after the first of the year. We wanted to slowly introduce new aspects the business to give the public – and us – time to settle into and get used to the new building, and we’re tentatively planning to host a grand opening in January.”
As the name implies, Holt – with the help of several family members, who also work at the bakery – offers fresh bread and other baked goods and a large assortment of smoked meats made available daily.
Whether you’re looking for a traditional loaf of homemade white, honey wheat, sourdough or other bread, or you want something to satisfy your sweet tooth, Holt and staff can oblige, with made-from-scratch chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, oatmeal raisin, sugar, peanut butter, molasses crinkle or lemon glory cookies.
If you’ve got a family gathering coming up, let Front Porch Bakery do the cooking for you, offering their popular cinnamon or pecan rolls, fruit pies, available in apple, peach, apricot, cherry, strawberry rhubarb, raisin and pecan.
Cream pies and custard pies are available with a special order, as are birthday cakes, and there are sugar-free and gluten-free options to purchase, based upon availability.
Meat lovers need look no further than Front Porch, with an assortment of smoked meats, with pork spareribs, chicken, ham, bologna, brisket, pulled pork, hot links, bratwurst and more available, with Gin-Dandy barbecue sauce for sale to compliment your choice of meat.
Wednesday night is family dinner night at Front Porch Bakery, with pre-orders necessary to allow Holt and staff to prepare a homemade takeout meal which serves 2-3 or 4-6, depending on the order.
But for all the must-be-tasted-to-be-believed items offered at the Front Porch Bakery, Holt said she hopes her growing business provides the opportunity for families to gather and partake in something special.
“Our goal is always to do the kind of home-cooking that you would expect to get at your grandma’s house – that’s important to us,” she said. “Matt and I started the business with the idea of having a place where people can come and enjoy delicious food that’s made fresh daily, where people can feel welcome and feel like they’re in a special, welcoming place, and where they feel like family.”
Front Porch Bakery & Smoke House is located at 18345 South Highway 66, on the east side of the road, less than a mile north of Lowry Road in Claremore. Regular business hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Front Porch Bakery offers a variety of delicious gluten-free products, such as gluten-free cookies, noodles, bread, cakes, and more.
Unique and delicious fresh fruit jams, butters, and spreads can be found in ample supply at Front Porch Bakery, including strawberry, raspberry, apple butter, peach butter and more.
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