We often find out about attractions in the area from our guests. We usually don’t get to check them out until the off season. This is true of Keuka Artisan Bakery & Deli- we have been hearing about the great treats and sandwiches they make for a couple of years, but have missed connecting with their winter hours. We needed to find lunch in Hammondsport while running errands recently and found the bakery open in the mid-afternoon. We decided to share a Reuben sandwich and a Beef-on-Weck and settled in while the owner, John DiBona went to work on the order. John apologized for the delay while preparing the sandwiches- he was working alone and had to answer the phone and help the stream of traffic coming in. We were not in a hurry and enjoyed checking out the sights and smells of the bakery.
It is a small shop with cheerful, warm colors. A glass display case has pastries and cookies, and shelves in the back have loaves of bread from the day’s bake (and the weekly baking schedule). As he worked the owner explained that they source their ingredients locally, and much of the flour is from organic grain grown in the Finger Lakes.
We settled in to one of the colorful and whimsical tables as the sandwiches arrived, and they did not disappoint. The Reuben had a light and fragrant rye bread, and it disappeared before the camera could record it. Beef-on-Weck is a western New York specialty that sees various interpretations. Traditionally it has slices of rare beef on a kimmelweck roll- a variety of kaiser roll that is topped with salt crystals and caraway seeds- and served with horseradish. The Artisan Bakery version has French roll with the caraway and salt, a more substantial and flavorful choice over the kaiser roll. They also give a large portion of old-school horseradish.
We enjoyed visiting with John as we savored our lunch. His description of the way the bakery evolved is very much a Finger Lakes story- he and his wife Deb, trained in European styles of baking, loved the area and settled in to open the bakery. Much like the wine makers in the area, they have grown and adapted to the rhythms and climate of the area and have developed a strong following with the locals as well as visitors.
The Artisan Bakery & Deli is at 49 Shethar Street in Hammondsport (on the south end of Keuka Lake.) Their web presence can be found on Facebook.