Cottage Bakery & Cafe – Pembina Highway

Every so often I run across a place, and wonder to myself, how did I miss this place for so long. Cottage Bakery on Pembina Highway is one such place. I lived just off Pembina and McGillivray for the best part of nine years. I was about four blocks from Cottage Bakery and yet somehow never managed to visit. In the end, my first visit came about 15 years after I left the area, because I needed change for the bus. I simply bought a coffee to go. However, that first visit was enough to convince me that I wanted and needed to return.

Cottage Bakery sign
The sign on the blackboard on the north wall of Cottage Bakery.

Now it is possible That I dropped in once to pick up something in a hurry, but don’t remember having done so. What’s interesting, as the sign shown above indicates, I’ve been missing a real Winnipeg institution. Cottage Bakery & Cafe, is the oldest, continually operating business on Pembina Highway. When it opened it was located a little farther north, by Pembina and Merriam, but it’s been part of Pembina Highway for 87 years.

Cottage Bakery
An Americanp from Cottage Bakery.

Cottage Bakery is a family run establishment. Over the many years it’s been in business, the families who own it have changed, but they have been and are all, committed to bring good quality baked goods to the neighbourhood. On the west wall there is a blackboard which gives a potted history of the bakery. It began right at the time when the Great Depression was exerting it’s grip on the country. As the story goes, Frank Brown, the original owner of the bakery, sold only one loaf of bread on his first day in business. However, he showed his commitment to his community by taking the remaining loaves to the local community centre to share with the homeless and unemployed.

Afternoon Coffee at Cottage Bakery

One thing that made me stop by Cottage Bakery a second time was that I noticed they had packages of butter tarts for sale, and I so I went in to check and see if they had them for sale as individuals. I’m hoping to make some additions to my Winnipeg’s Best Butter Tart list, and figured this might be a good one to add. However they only had the packages, and so I picked two other items to go with my Americano.

Raisin Scone.
A very light and tasty Raisin Scone.
Cottage Bakery Apple tart
Cottage Bakery offers a nice, little apple tart.

One of the things I like about Cottage Bakery & Cafe is that they offer a good variety, of small, recently priced treats in their counter. I chose two items to go with my beverage. The first was a raisin scone. It is one of the lightest and fluffiest scones that I have tried anywhere. It has great texture, and a nice little crunch as you bite into it. My second item was a little Apple Tart. The pastry here was quite good, although thought it a little light when it came to the filling.

Service at Cottage Bakery is done at the counter. You place your order and then they bring it to your table when it is ready. The first thing I noticed about the service was how enthusiastic the counter staff was. It was if they had been waiting all day just for me to come in. I observed this on each of my visits, and also as I watched other customers being served. I also noticed this attitude in various servers who were working, although I think I’ve had the same person serve me on each occasion.

Cottage Bakery Tomato Soup
Tomato Soup

Light Lunch at Cottage Bakery

I was out and about on Monday, and lunch had been skipped. I was taking the bus from Lindenwoods area, and the route I got on was one that makes it’s way to Pembina Highway while taking the scenic route through industrial parks, and the Wildwood area of Fort Garry. The trip is about 15 minutes as the crow flies, but about 40 minutes as Winnipeg Transit crawls. This left me with a limited amount of time to get something to eat before my transfer ran out.

I managed to catch a bus southward on Pembina quite quickly and got to Cottage Bakery with about 35 minutes on my transfer. I wanted to give the Cafe part of Bakery & Cafe a try, and so I ordered a bowl of soup. I wanted a little sweet treat, and so I had a Lamington. I didn’t order a beverage, because too much liquid can make the bus trip uncomfortable.

The soup of the day was tomato, and when it came I was pleased to discover that this was most definitely homemade. It’s not all that common to order tomato soup and discover little bits of tomato in it. I also liked that, unlike commercial tomato soups, this was not an overly sweet tomato soup. There was just enough sweetness to balance out the acidity of the tomato.

Cottage Bakery.
A nice, cocoa covering on this Lamington.

I chose the Lamington, in part, because the only other time I had seen one was at High Tea Bakery. This one compares pretty well to the High Tea Bakery one. I would say that the one from High Tea was a moister cake, but I really liked the cocoa and coconut covering from Cottage Bakery. I found it a little moister, helping to counteract the drier cake. The other thing about Lamingtons that I like is that they connect me to the Australian part of my heritage.

Cottage Bakery meat pie
The meat pie in to go container.
Cottage Bakery pork pie.
Cross section of the meat pie. The filling is pork and potato.

 

As I was leaving I noticed in the far corner of the bakery case, that they had small meat pies available. They were only three dollars, so I grabbed one to go. When I got home, I popped it into the oven for a few minutes and then enjoyed it as part of my supper. The filling is a mixture of pork and potato. The pork is ground to a smooth consistency and with the potato mixed in, gives a rich, thick, creamy feeling  to the filling. The pie is lightly seasoned allowing both the pork and the potatoes to shine through as themselves.

I asked about the butter tarts when I purchased the meat pie, and it turns out that they are only sold in packages. There are two choices 6 large for $9.00 or to 12 small for $10.00. I will be back to purchase some, but I will wait until I need to take some with me to some sort of gathering so I don’t eat that many all at once.

Oh, and I was able to get from the bakery to the bus stop in just enough time to get on my homeward bound bus on the one transfer.

Cottage Bakery & Cafe is not far from the Diocesan Offices, where every so often I find myself for brown bag lunch meetings. I think picking something up from Cottage Bakery will soon become my new practice. If you’re looking for a place that offers great variety, reasonable prices and very friendly service, I highly recommend Cottage Bakery & Cafe.

Cottage Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

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42 comments

  1. I hadn’t heard of a butter tart before. Maybe because I live in England. Anyway your enthusiasm for them has made me download a recipe for Canadian butter tarts and I shall make some this weekend. Thank you for broadening my horizons.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Nice find! The simplest places always captivate us, true? Maybe because they put us in mind of the warmth, comfort and security of home. Though you discovered Cottage Café only after moving from the immediate neighborhood, point is, locate it you did. We all profit from the experience, you emotionally and we, vicariously.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Even though I’m unlikely to ever visit the bakery itself, I enjoyed the pics of baked goods as a source of ideas/inspiration for future baking.

    I wish I lived close enough to bake you a batch or two of butter tarts. They’re delicious and easy to make. I don’t make them often because I can inhale them in no time at all.

    I got my recipe for the filling from a cookbook put out by a British tea room out in the county. My brother bought it for me many years ago because my MSc thesis supervisor, also an artist, drew/designed the pictures for the cookbook/menu.

    Do you like them with or without raisins? As a piece of trivia: if you make the tarts and add pecans and add chocolate chips to the filling, you get Kentucky Derby tarts.

    I’ve been tempted to make lamingtons in the past but the recipe didn’t seem very challenging. (I suspect it’s a bakery invention to recycle slab cakes that didn’t sell and the frosting/coating was meant to add back much needed moisture. Or am I too cynical?) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comments. I agree with you about how easy it is to eat butter tarts. I almost never make them for myself for the same reason.

      Did the cookbook help you along your thesis path?

      I’m one of those, fairly rare, people who enjoys his butter tarts with or without raisins. I add cranberries to my own version. The Kentucky Derby Tarts sound doubly sugary. A weeks calories in each tart.

      Your theory on Lamingtons seems to make sense. The coating on the Cottage Bakeriy’s tarts come across that way.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Really good post! I like how you combined your dining experience with the history of the restaurant! I also like how you added photos to help illustrate the key points you’re trying to explain. Hallmark films several of their movies in Canada, with certain scenes taking place in real-life business facilities. This restaurant sounds like the type of place that would fit within a Hallmark movie perfectly!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Cottage Bakery would definitely fit into a Hallmark film. I’ve started reading cozy mysteries in the last year, and it would also making a natural setting for one of those.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I agree with you about that, as I could definitely see this restaurant in a mystery film from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries! Most of those movies take place in a small town, so this location would add to the charm of those backdrops.

        Liked by 1 person

    • This is my second blog. I originally started one called bubsburbs to give me a place to share sermons, etc. However as I went along I noticed I was writing as much about food as anything, so I started dining with donald as a second blog. I eventually closed down the first one as I didn’t have the time to dedicate to it.

      I would be happy to share my story on “What You Blog About.”

      Like

    • Thank you. I hope you can find some good bakeries nearby where you are. Although at least one reader has told me he lives in a bakery desert. I guess that might even make it a dessert desert.

      Like

  5. What an interesting site you have here. I enjoy your conversation too. I’m wondering where you are located. Is it in another country besides the United States? I have another website, and although it’s been viewed, it hasn’t been viewed or as quickly as the one about food. Guess everyone’s a little bit hungry. I notice you share sermons too. I’ve share a few of those on my first website, but I’m only a laity speaker in a protestant church. I’m looking forward to more of your posts. Thank you for liking mine. thatremindsme.blog…and the other one ……memoriesaremadefromthis.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi. Thanks for the comment.

      I’m located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Pretty much right in the middle of the country from an East-West perspective.

      People do love their food. My restaurant reviews always garner more traffic than sermons, and book posts. However, they allow me to write about what I want to write about, while still increasing the site’s content.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Canada is good! I’ve noticed of late that some restaurants charge enormous prices while serving the same amount and caliber of food as others who don’t charge an elaborate amount.. Doesn’t make sense. I’m used to northern Michigan restaurants, no city stuff here. One in particular in West Branch, Michigan is called “Mac’s”. That’s it. It’s old, clean, and small. The food is tasty, the help is efficient and friendly and the price is reasonable. Now that’s what I call a good restaurant. But then, you know how I am.

        Like

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