Having only discovered the awesome seeded Kaiser rolls from the National Bakery the night before when my friend Chris and I had been shopping at his local Weis supermarket, we decided that after our stop at the Glider Diner for lunch, we would drive to this local Scranton bakery. Although a large company with a fairly good distribution, for some reason they didn't have a website of their own. While a tour of the plant would've been really cool, I was happy with a visit to their retail outlet store, which happened to be attached to the actual bakery.
Located at 1100 Capouse Avenue, Scranton, PA 18509, they can be reached at 570-343-1609. There seems to also be another location in Scranton on North Main Avenue that based on some of the commentary I saw on my Google search leads me to believe that the other location could also be serving food, too. The one that Chris and I visited today was definitely just a retail outlet.
As we approached the corner of Capouse and Poplar, the sign out front advertised the location:
We pulled into the parking lot directly outside the building. Here was a shot of the retail outlet entrance:
Once inside, you could smell the heavenly aroma of freshly baked breads and in a lovely turn of events, freshly baked pastries, all certified parve. While you could simply walk around and pick up sacks of pre-bagged yeasty goodness, the retail outlet also had a wall menu of items and prices:
Chris opted for a bag of dinner rolls. I asked the young woman working behind the counter to walk me through the pastries available today. The list was quite extensive and varied from simple to complex. I decided that I would try an assortment of items today. I chose a cheese and cherry danish, a cinnamon roll, and two different kinds of bagels. After paying the almost criminally inexpensive $2.90 for my items, Chris and I hopped back in his car and did a few errands before returning to his house where I could take things to the next level ... tasting!
While I did eat and share the danish and cinnamon roll with Chris, it wasn't until later that night that I tried the dinner rolls that Chris had bought and not until the next morning that I tried my plain bagel. Amazingly, all of them were fresh, regardless of when I had them.
First up, a shot of the cherry and cheese danish:
While the cherry and cheese topping were indeed sweet, the dough helped to balance out that sweetness so that it wasn't too overpowering. What surprised both Chris and I was the tenderness and flakiness of the pastry crust. It seemed to almost have a pate feuilletee (aka puff pastry) texture to the dough, although it was much more subtle in this danish.
Next up, I decided to try the cinnamon roll:
And here was a side shot of the roll, showing all of the layers of dough and cinnamon:
This was also quite delicious and the sweetness was well controlled. The rich "eggy" dough was complimented by the assertive punch of the cinnamon spice layers so well throughout the pastry. This was also big enough that two people could easily share one. Of the two pastries, I'd be hard pressed to pick a favorite since they were both so good. As you can see from the wall menu photos above, these were only two of the many pastries available. If they are all this good, you'd have a real hard time deciding what to buy. Perhaps one of everything?
When Chris and I first returned back to his home, I went ahead and took pictures of both the rolls and the bagels, both bagged for later consumption. Here was a shot of the dinner rolls:
If you look carefully at this picture, you can see the small amounts of condensation still on the inside of the bag. As breads cool, they continue to release water vapor for quite some time after they come out of the oven. The presence of this condensate only confirmed my suspicions of how fresh these rolls really were. When I finally had a chance to taste one later in the evening with a little Danish Lurpak unsalted butter, I was rewarded with a wonderfully chewy and tasty dinner roll. The outside had a nice texture to it and the inside was soft and had a wonderful yeasty aroma. Besides pairing with the butter, Chris has been making small sandwiches out of these rolls, too.
The following morning, I had the chance to try out the bagels:
While Chris had already eaten half of his whole grain bagel, I sliced my enormous plain bagel in half and shmeared a healthy dose of cream cheese on each half before sitting down to enjoy my breakfast. Even having sat for a day, the bagel was still very fresh. As a good bagel should, this one had a very similar texture to the dinner rolls from the previous night. The outside had a wonderful chew to them and the bread on the inside was soft and lovely. While some lovely smoked salmon and pickled shallots would've made nice additions, I was entirely happy with my simple combination.
Of the five National Bakery products I have tried over my visit to Scranton, I have been quite pleased with every single one. I'm disappointed that I won't be able to get this product once I return home to Akron. Ah well, I'll just have to make sure I put a visit to the retail outlet on Capouse a "must do" on subsequent return visits to Scranton. If you are lucky enough to live close to the bakery or their distribution radius, I encourage you to check out their baked goods. While being certified kosher is great for part of their customer base, the freshness and good taste are great for everyone.