By Marielle Songy, Mid-City Messenger
Leo’s Bread is serving up fresh bread, bagels and sandwiches in Mid City. What started as a small operation that sold exclusively at farmers markets is now a full-fledged brick-and-mortar bakery at 2438 Bell St., near Esplanade Avenue and North Broad.
Owner Kate Heller is a self-taught baker who started selling bread out of the back of her car. Baking was then a hobby for the Washington, D.C., native.
“I moved to New Orleans eight years ago, and I really didn’t have a plan to start baking until I found an oven,” Heller said. “From there I started selling bread out of my trunk in front of Pagoda Café. It started to grow from there.”
Heller then began peddling her loaves at Crescent City Farmers Market in Mid-City.
“My first big success was baking for a Thursday farmer’s market in 2013,” she said, “I’m still there and I added a day at an Uptown farmers market on Tuesdays.”
Mid-City’s Thursday Farmers Market was in the American Can parking lot when Heller started. It is now in front of the former Brake Tag Station at Lafitte Greenway and Bayou St. John.
Leo’s Bread specializes in loaves of bread, bagels and different flavored croissants baked fresh in-house within hours of opening. Croissants come in such mouth-watering flavors as butter, chocolate, pecan and strawberry jam.
The shop also offers breakfast and lunch — sandwiches are made with fresh bagels. Bread, juice and coffee are available as well.
The bagels are an especially exciting menu item as there are not very many bagel options in New Orleans. A menu highlight is bagel and lox, which comes with cream cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, capers and dill.
“Making bagels is definitely a process,” Heller said. “Our bagels are boiled and baked, and we don’t make more than a couple hundred a day.”
The store takes orders online for pickup if you’re in a hurry.
Leo’s Bread is open Wednesday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
You can also find Leo’s Bread at Tuesday Farmers Market, 200 Broadway, 8 a.m. to noon and the Thursday Farmers Market, 500 Norman C. Francis Parkway, 3 to 7 p.m.
Reporter Marielle Songy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.