Food Scene

We love Tempe bakeries

Bakeries are my favorite places. From bread to cupcakes to muffins, I’m usually game to try most anything in a pastry case. In fact, we could dedicate an entire blog to just cupcakes in Tempe. But, instead, we’re focusing on Tempe bakeries where you can get a variety of yummy sweet treats, and usually breakfast or lunch too. We have a full list of bakeries and delis in Tempe on the Tempe Tourism website, but here are a few of our favorites.

Bakeries in South Tempe

Great Harvest Bread Co. is an adorable family-owned bakery in south Tempe, at the northwest corner of McClintock Drive and Warner Road. They use natural ingredients for all of their creations: breads, cookies, muffins and scones. To step it up a notch, they even grind their wheat berries every day before they make their bread dough. They sell varieties like Honey Whole Wheat that are available daily and they rotate other selections throughout the week, such as Cinnamon Raisin and Whole Wheat Sourdough. Besides just picking up bread to go (that is sometimes so freshly baked that it steams up the bag), I highly suggest their sandwiches, salads and soups for lunch. They’re open Mon.-Fri. from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sat. from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If I knew that I would eventually move to a house that is within walking distance to P. Croissant, I would have moved much, much sooner. Officially called Pleaissant Croissant, this bakery has been in the same spot for 20 years – the northwest corner of Rural Road and Elliot. They bake their croissants fresh every day but don’t be surprised if they’re running low when you arrive. These tasty treats go fast! Their flavors range from apple to peanut butter. They also have a nice selection of muffins, mini quiches and sandwiches for breakfast and lunch. Stop by Mon. – Fri., 6 a.m. – 2 p.m., Sat. and  Sun., 7 a.m.-2 p.m.

When you combine a stellar bakery, Wildflower Bread Co., with Changing Hands Bookstore, you have a combo made in heaven. Wildflower Bread Co. in Tempe is right next door to the legendary Changing Hands Bookstore on McClintock Drive and Guadalupe Road. Their bakery case has cupcakes, cookies, muffins and other pastries. They also sell breads, rolls and bagels. But they are more than just a bakery. Their breakfast dishes, salads, sandwiches and pasta items are amazingly good. And, before or after you nosh on their outstanding fare, you can browse through one of the city’s best bookstores, featuring both new and used books, gift items and special events like book readings and kid’s activities. That makes for the perfect day in my opinion. Hours are
Mon.- Fri., 6 a.m.-9 p.m., Sat., 7 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun., 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

Red Apron Bakeshop is as cute as its name. It’s located on the northwest corner of McClintock Drive and Warner Road. The amazingly good, huge cookies come in all your favorite flavors – chocolate chip, chocolate crinkle, peanut butter, snickerdoodles and lemon. There’s also a lovely assortment of cupcakes, mini cheesecakes and lovey lil’ bunt cakes. And, you can enjoy the free coffee or ice tea with your treat. For those special occasions, you can order beautiful and luscious custom cakes. Hours are Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Tempe Bakeries near ASU

Romancing the Bean is a hidden gem in the Hayden Ferry Lakeside office complex at Rio Salado Parkway and Mill Avenue. They fill their bakery case with fresh goodies every day, from the most delectable cookies you’ll ever taste to oversized muffins and scones. It’s also a good place to stop for gourmet coffee, egg dishes, breakfast sandwiches and tasty salads and sandwiches at lunchtime. They are open Mon-Fri.,  7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Chompie’s, located on University Drive between Rural and McClintock, is an institution. It’s been in Tempe since the 1980s. Once you enter, you’ll immediately be distracted by their incredible deli case. This New York style deli is known for the best bagels in town in every flavor imaginable. They also make cakes, cookies, Challah, Rye and traditional breads and breakfast pastries daily. You can pick up bakery items to go or have breakfast, lunch or dinner in their Big Apple-inspired dining room. They’re open Mon.-Fri., 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sat.-Sun., 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Sweetest Season Artisan Eatery is a fairly new addition to Tempe’s dining scene, but it is making quite a splash. They bake delicious pastries like raspberry pop tarts, huge blueberry muffins and a soaked lemon cake. They also have “cheat day chocolate chip cookies” that are more than worth the calories. Sweetest Season isn’t just a dessert destination, however. They serve breakfast sandwiches, fluffy Belgian waffles and savory menu items for lunch like sandwiches, flatbreads and galettes. They are located on Apache Blvd. between the 101 freeway and McClintock Drive in the India Plaza. Their second location, scheduled to open in fall 2018, will be at McClintock Drive and Guadalupe Rd. They’re open everyday, 7 a.m.-3 p.m.

Tracy Dempsey Originals is a cozy sweet tooth paradise on the southeast corner of University and Priest Drives.  Tracy is a professional pastry chef who creates some of the most delectably different pastries ever invented. I personally go cray cray for her donut muffins, but there are so many temptations, it’s hard to choose just one.  How can you possibly resist  the chocolate mousse and lemon verbena bars, ginger creams, homemade marshmallows, bacon pecan brittle, buttery, melt-in-your mouth shortbreads, cookies and cakes? Her wedding and other special occasion cakes are real works of art. And, if you love fine wines, just walk next door to ODV Wines, which Tracy and her husband Chuck opened in 2017. They’re open Thurs., 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.; Fri.  & Sat., 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Written Toni Smith

An Arizona native, Toni Smith loves to dine out, conquer hiking trails, go to concerts and survive hot yoga classes. She has also never met a dog she didn’t love instantly. She lives in Tempe with her husband and daughter.