Side dish: Fun and funky bakeries offer up sweet themes

Take a casual drive through Cleveland and you'll see no shortage of storefronts selling cakes, pies, cookies, doughnuts, breads and every heavenly delight in between. As the city is home to confectionary pleasures of all sizes, shapes and flavors, area bakery owners have gotten creative in how they brand their businesses. Here are a few fun, funky bakery names that are nearly as sweet as the offering on the inside.
Zoss the Swiss Baker
12397 Cedar Rd., Cleveland Heights
With a store name like a pulp science fiction title from the 1950s, Kurt Zoss and his wife, Barbara, sell out-of-this-world baked goods from their unassuming brick building on Cedar Road, right next to Nighttown. Among the delicacies on hand are powdered strudels, Bavarian pretzels and sourdough breads. As for chocolate goodies, Zoss's flourless torte is a customer favorite.
Blackbird Baking Company
1391 Sloane Ave., Lakewood
This ornithologically-themed gem on Detroit and Sloane avenues is one of Cleveland's favorite bakeries. Owners Tom and Adris Clark make all their goods from scratch each day, with a selection that includes French-style pastries and breads. Blackbird received national recognition from Food & Wine magazine for having one of the best chocolate chip cookies in the nation. Patrons can enjoy Blackbird's semisweet, sea salt-dusted cookie alongside a full range of espresso, coffee and tea drinks.

Mural by Danilo Zammattio at Cake Royale

Cake Royale
4276 Pearl Road, Cleveland
West Side Market

Evoking the legendary James Bond's Casino Royale, you won't find any Baccarat tables in this delightful French-themed shop in Old Brooklyn (or at their D7 booth at the Market). Noted local pastry magician Michel Kahwagi and wife Denise helm this Cleveland mainstay, which features cannoli, beautiful handcrafted cakes, pastries and macaroons. Also: their famous Monk Cakes. Try chocolate cake and mousse with raspberry filling all wrapped up in a folded chocolate shell and dusted with chocolate. BOOM.

Poison Berry Bakery and Cafe
12210 Larchmere Blvd., Cleveland
Jennifer and Joe Regan's vegan-owned and operated bakery opened in April, bringing scrumptious vegan products to hungry visitors of the colorful, cartoon-festooned shop on Larchmere Boulevard. Delectable selections such as the cream-filled "Whoo Girl Pie" chocolate sandwich line the shelves along with donuts, chocolate chip banana bread, blueberry lemon bread, and other fan favorites.
Gray House Pies
12204 Larchmere Blvd., Cleveland
Next door to Poison Berry is Gray House Pies, a full bakery and retail storefront that sells fresh-baked fruit, cream and meat-based pies. Owner Joe Schlott, who has a second location in Westlake, bakes with free-range eggs, whole butter, and organic whole milk, while avoiding canned fruit, hydrogenated fats and preservatives.
Customers can enjoy Sunshine (cherry and peach) and Four Berry Good Friends (blueberry, raspberry, blackberry and strawberry) fruit infusions as well as the Chocolate Elvis cream pie and a variety of quiches and pot pies. 

Read more articles by Douglas J. Guth.

Douglas J. Guth is a Cleveland Heights-based freelance writer and journalist. In addition to Fresh Water, his work has been published by Midwest Energy News, Kaleidoscope Magazine and Think, the alumni publication of Case Western Reserve University. A die-hard Cleveland sports fan, he also writes for the cynically named (yet humorously written) blog Cleveland Sports Torture.   
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