Chris and Michele Sedgwick, president and vice president of both the Sedgwick Restaurant Group and Pure Taqueria Franchising USA, live in north Fulton and operate some of the better known eateries in the area, including Vinnie’s and Aspens Signature Steaks.
Trained at Johnson & Wales University College of Culinary Arts in Providence, R.I., with a major in baking and pastry arts, Michele spent countless hours perfecting sweet creations in the back kitchen at Van Gogh’s Restaurant in Roswell, now called Bistro VG.
As the restaurant group grew, so did Michele’s pastry repertoire.
But for breads, the restaurants relied on other sources.
That is, until the Sedgwicks opened Theo’s Brother’s Bakery in 1999.
The primary focus was to make all of their own breads for the restaurants, but they also added a retail component. There are two Theo’s, one on Houze Road in Alpharetta and a second in west Cobb County, but all of the baking is done in the back of the Alpharetta store.
I have always believed that not enough people know about Theo’s, but on a recent mid-afternoon visit, the stream of customers was steady. The storefront is tiny, but there is a pair of small tables with chairs outside.
The variety and quality of the breads are why I first started going to Theo’s years ago. More than a dozen kinds are fresh baked every day, and in my visits I’ve worked my way through almost all of them.
The brioche makes terrific French toast, Jewish rye is an ideal base for deli meat sandwiches, and the multigrain and whole wheat breads are good enough to eat plain with just with a dab or two of butter.
There is a hearty Tuscan bread that takes three days to make that is sold only on Wednesdays and Saturdays that has the crunchy crust and soft, tender interior typical of European bread. I’ve only been able to snag a loaf once because I don’t seem to be able to get there early enough on those two days to beat the legion of fans who I’m told buy several loaves to freeze.
My favorites, however, are the sourdough bread and sourdough baguettes. Michele told me the starter Theo’s uses for all its sourdough offerings is 12 years old, started when she first began mastering the art of bread baking.
“It was a learning curve,” she said. “Pastries had always been my thing.”
Theo’s menu not only includes bread selections, but also sandwiches and soups, coffees and a daily assortment of cookies, tarts, scones and biscotti.
Muffins are one of Michele’s specialties.
“They’re not like typical muffins that are fluffy, not at all cakey. Mine have substance. And they’re made with really good ingredients,” she said.
Be sure to also try the chocolate sour cherry bread for your next weekend breakfast. Before I tasted it, I’d never been partial to that particular flavor combo, but this tasty bread had me coming back for slice after slice.
On the day we visited, among the trays of goodies I also spotted white chocolate ruffle cookies, brown butter strawberry tarts, almond brioche toast, caramel nut bars and German butter cookies. A half dozen freshly made lemon meringue tarts went home with us.
In season, Theo’s house made basil pesto is a go-to addition from the fridge. You can also pick up homemade bread crumbs and granola as well as many other foodstuffs both practical and gift-worthy.
Theo’s Brother’s Bakery
12280 Houze Road