Saturday, February 9, 2013

“Remember: The Bread is Just the Beginning!”

Or so it says on Beyond Bread’s website. And this statement is especially true at this combination bread and pastries bakery and sandwich café.

“Beyond Bread opened its doors…on February 2, 1998….The story began a few years earlier in Madison, Wisconsin. It was at this time that Shelby and Randie Collier began discussing where Shelby was going to take his experience in the restaurant business. A life as owner of a quiet little bakery where Shelby would rise early, bake beautiful loaves of fresh artisan bread and be home by mid-afternoon sounded terrific. So, leaving his bachelor’s degree in Psychology behind him, Shelby began his training at Madison Sourdough Bread Company, learning from Master Baker, Cameron Ramsey” (

Soon thereafter, Shelby and Randie moved to Tucson where their business has now grown to three Beyond Breads and they have become the recipient of many awards including being named Tucson Weekly’s best fresh-baked bread from 1999 to the present and best sandwich from 2002 to the present.

“Although ostensibly a bakery, this place is really a bustling sandwich shop that also sells great breads and pastries.
"You can even get hot breakfasts here….The sandwich list is long, with both hot and cold varieties, and they all come on the great bread that's baked on the premises. Most of the sandwiches are so big that you could split them between two people if you weren't too hungry” (

We discovered this place in 2011 when we had planned on pizza from Rocco’s and found that restaurant closed that day for carpet (I think) replacement. Fortunately, I had with me the pocket brochure for the “Tucson Originals” (“Formed in 1999, the Tucson Originals have been the driving force and model for similar groups all across America who are working to preserve the culinary
spirit of their communities. With the rapid rise of chain eateries, this alliance has helped many of Tucson’s signature restaurants survive and thrive. Tucson Original restaurants all share one common bond—they exemplify the independent spirit and the rich culinary heritage that is Tucson” []) and Beyond Bread was one of those listed and, best yet, was just a short drive away. (Frankie’s and Rocco’s, two of our favorite eateries, are also members of Tucson Originals.) And we have been hooked ever since.

Knowing from experience that, as noted by Frommers, one sandwich could feed two, our plan was to order two sandwiches and take one of them home for later that evening. But lest you fear that we were food deprived, to accompany our sandwich to be consumed on site we both ordered a small soup.

Included with each whole sandwich are Beyond Bread Kettle Chips, Lay’s Baked Chips, or baby carrots. But for a small additional charge ($0.50 or $1.00) you can substitute pasta salad, a small green salad, fat free vinegar slaw, or soup.

The Chicken Tortilla or Tomato Basil soups are available every day and each day Beyond Bread offers one additional soup that can be Green Chile and Corn Chowder, Clam Chowder, or Cream of Chicken and Dumpling. My choice was the chicken tortilla that contained large chunks of white meat chicken, carrots, onions, corn, and—for a jolt of spice—green chiles. Just the perfect soup for a cold—yes, again—day in Tucson.
Chuck ordered the Tomato Basil, which in the accompanying photo (above) looks more like a cream of tomato than it was. This had a bright—bordering on sharp—tomato flavor that was accented by our favorite herb—basil. And I think that I detected some parmesan cheese which could account for the sharp taste.

To go with the soup, we shared the Milton’s Melt—a lightly grilled sandwich with turkey, bacon, sharp cheddar, tomato, and Russian dressing on rye.
(And their rye may be one of the best, along with that from Sage Bakehouse in Santa Fe.) What made this sandwich memorable was the thinness of the sliced turkey. And the other ingredients harmonized with the moist meat.

Later than evening, we dined (What a fancy word to describe eating a sandwich.) on the Stan’s Stack with turkey (again), provolone, roasted red peppers, sprouts, Russian dressing on white.
But our Beyond Bread experience didn’t stop there. Did you think we’d be able to resist pastries? Of course not.
We brought home a box containing a maple scone (top left), cranberry and white chocolate scone (top right), and raspberry bar. We shared the bar that night and saved the others for a later day.

But we aren’t finished with Beyond Bread. I have a prize winning sandwich to eat. Coming tomorrow.

To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

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