Sunday, July 24, 2011

search and devour: vegan brunch at black bear bakery

we've been eating bread and pastries from black bear bakery for a couple of years now.  whether we get it at a farmers market or at black bear's storefront on cherokee, the food is consistently good.  the other day, we bought a voicedaily coupon to black bear, and clark hopped online to check their hours.  much to our delight, clark spotted a tiny announcement of black bear's weekend vegan brunch [since changed to "neighborhood brunch," though we don't understand why they're no longer announcing the vegan-friendliness of the spread].  as you know, we're down with anything vegan, so we hustled over to cherokee for some chow.

choices ranged from fried rice with edamame to tofu scramble to fresh fruit, and everything was quite flavorful. of course there's toasted bread, too, but it was the fried rice that stole the show. in any case, you can get all of this spread for just 10 bucks, and for two bucks more you can get coffee or juice.  the bonus is that you get to support an awesome local business--one that's committed to local food and local people--and you get to hang out with their great staff (shout out to janette!).

(side note: the weekend brunch is totally vegan only on sundays; on saturdays, though there are still vegan options, you'll also find eggs and cheese.)


  1. I love Black Bear and have tried really hard to embrace their vegan brunch. I've been several times since it started and the food is always hit and miss. Some dishes are good, others too dry, too bland, too spicy, too oily, or burned. They tend to run out of things a lot too. I was there two or three times when they had biscuits and gravy but they ran out of biscuits each time! Then a friend told me she actually got a biscuit one weekend and they were like "hockey pucks." :/

    And finally, after staying away for a while I decided to meet a friend there the weekend before last to give it another try. She got there before me and called me to tell me the food was inedible so we went somewhere else. We talked to another friend who was supposed to eat there that day and she left too! In Black Bear's defense, I was told they had a really bad day in the kitchen and got it together later in the day.

    I sure hope they can get some more order to their cooking for big groups and also improve their vegan cooking skills. I want STL to know how good vegan food is! :)

  2. thanks for the candid response, melissa! admittedly, we've only been to black bear one time for their vegan brunch, so we're by no means authorities on their performance over the long haul. still, we stand by our post, and we believe our experience was more than promising enough to bring us back. of course, if our next visit lets us down, we'll be sure to let you all know. like you, melissa, we want nothing more than for st. louisans to discover what really good vegan tastes like, so we're hoping our experience at black bear is the rule, rather than the exception. :)

  3. one more thing: we've also been told there are two cooks, one of whom is slightly more adept than the other... if that helps. but they're working on the inconsistencies.

  4. I hope I didn't sound too harsh. I know they're trying their best and they have been nothing but nice and I feel they truly are excited about the vegan brunch which is awesome! I just keep hoping for improvement and it's been taking a while but I will certainly keep coming. There are usually enough good dishes to make up for the not so good ones. I wish them all the best and am thankful they are committed to serving vegan food.

  5. don't apologize for honesty--there are so many good places to eat in this city (even for us vegetarians & vegans)... but that just makes it harder when you really WANT to LOVE something and you can't. the open-mindedness and persistence is good, though. we'll be back, too. we're on the same page: if a place is committed to serving good vegan food, we're definitely going to support them when we can.