RUTLAND – The Depot Café & Bake Shop recently opened a location in the Asa Bloomer building at 88 Merchants Row, in the same space previously occupied by The Leaf Café.
Co-owners Bill Hieber and Michelle Scott are branching out from their home location in Castleton, where Scott runs The Depot Café & Bake Shop in the original train depot on the Amtrak line, on Route 4A just east of Castleton village.
In an interview, Scott said the expansion into Rutland was driven partly by requests from Depot regulars in Rutland. But there are some differences. While the Castleton shop offers breakfast all day and a full array of pastries, the Rutland location’s main customer base is the downtown lunch crowd, and those seeking mid-morning munchies.
Baked goods are baked in Castleton and delivered to Rutland daily, and include scones, muffins, cookies, frosted twists and, of course, Michelle’s Sweet Creations decorated cupcakes. Hieber noted that he can’t keep the Chocolate Lover’s cupcakes on the shelf. There is a cupcake giveaway for offices, with drawings on Fridays, and pies are baked to order with advance notice.
A large sandwich board above the front counter is jammed with offerings, all made fresh on the premises. Light breakfast fare includes breakfast bagels, burritos, English muffins and egg sandwiches. Lunch features an array of five salads and six specialty sandwiches, in addition to the old sandwich standbys. Other lunch favorites include fresh-made french fries and beer-batter onion rings and homemade soups year-round.
Take out or eat in? Box lunches can be ordered for the office, a picnic or the road.
Hieber said he offers the “old-time classics” — including fluffernutters — as well as items that have a “new twist,” creating new tastes and combinations, including Vermont maple-oat-walnut bread and housemade maple balsamic dressing on selected sandwiches and salads. The Monte Cristo sandwich comes with locally produced maple syrup, and the paninis include the Cuban and Bruschetta, the latter made with maple balsamic dressing. The ingredients feature McKenzie meats and Cabot cheeses.
Beverages include Green Mountain Coffee Roasters in pump pots, Kona iced coffee, cappuccino, and a selection of bottled waters, soft drinks, juices and energy drinks.
Hieber said the plan was to move away from the convenience store aspect of their predecessor toward the more relaxed, sit-down atmosphere of the Castleton bakery-café. An inside dining area offers five generous tables. Added amenities are two private nooks with desktops and power outlets, and two small, private meeting rooms for rent. The entire shop offers free Wi-Fi.
Because the Asa Bloomer office building is open only on weekdays, the Depot Café & Bake Shop has the same schedule. The café is open from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The phone number is 775-5800.