Didde Elnif / Flickr

From Charleston to L.A., these bakeries put a creative, seasonal twist on cupcakes, pies, and cookies.

Tartine Bakery & Café, San Francisco

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While the lines at this Mission District bakery can be an hour long, that hardly detours the fans clamoring to try Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt’s pastries. Inspired by time spent in France, the couple uses only organic ingredients in desserts like a shortbread cookie with kamut, an ancient grain, and local honey. Because the bakery makes small batches throughout the day, Tartine’s doughy croissants laminated in butter can often be enjoyed just out of the oven. Now that’s worth waiting for.

Must-Try Item: Tres Leches Cake made with organic goat’s milk cooked down to a caramel, or cajeta, sweetened coconut milk, and crema. tartinebakery.com

America's Best Bakeries

Tartine Bakery & Café, San Francisco

While the lines at this Mission District bakery can be an hour long, that hardly detours the fans clamoring to try Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt’s pastries. Inspired by time spent in France, the couple uses only organic ingredients in desserts like a shortbread cookie with kamut, an ancient grain, and local honey. Because the bakery makes small batches throughout the day, Tartine’s doughy croissants laminated in butter can often be enjoyed just out of the oven. Now that’s worth waiting for.

Must-Try Item: Tres Leches Cake made with organic goat’s milk cooked down to a caramel, or cajeta, sweetened coconut milk, and crema. tartinebakery.com

Didde Elnif / Flickr

America's Best Bakeries

Theresa Velazquez’s D.C. bakery business is thriving, and just three months ago, she (with the help of her husband, son, and daughter) opened a new location in Downtown. “We really make ourselves part of the neighborhood,” says the co-owner of Baked & Wired and A Baked Joint, where hazelnut ganache cupcakes are playfully displayed in upside-down coffee beakers.

Many of America’s best bakeries are family-run establishments that take a similar approach and pride in their community. They’re appealing, one-of-a-kind spots where travelers can break to enjoy made-from-scratch pastries that often highlight local ingredients.  

At Standard Baking Co. in Portland, ME, Alison Pray introduced Maine miche, an organic whole-wheat bread made with 100 percent single varietal wheat grown by a local farmer. “You couldn’t have imagined this 18 years ago when we started,” she says.

Great bakeries are not afraid to evolve or experiment, reinventing classic desserts as well as offering lesser-known European treats. So on your next trip, head to one of these bakeries for a sweet start to the day—whether an apricot puff pastry tart with almond cream or the gibassier, a French citrus-flavored bread.   

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