Bakery & Cafe

Merritt Restaurants – Brambles Bakery & Cafe

Brambles Bakery & Cafe – A Dream Come True

“Brambles is a true delight for all your senses.”

There is nothing I love better than dreaming up a great idea and then bringing it to life! From a simple thought shared with others, then planned and executed, there is nothing that tickles my fancy more than creation and production! Well…except, perhaps, for listening to someone else’s idea and watching them bring it to fruition. I’ve discovered over the years that the latter saves me a whole heckuva lot of work! Brambles Bakery & Cafe – evolved from just such a brainchild, many moons ago. 
The idea came to my pal, Dorothy Molnar. I remember her saying, “I’d love to have a little cafe where we make great soups from our own home-made stocks and maybe sell them for people to take home…” 

Ideas Percolating…

The idea percolated for many years while Dorothy, or Dodo, as her growing gaggle of grandchildren and friends call her, attended TRU for basic culinary training and sourdough bread-making classes at San Francisco Baking Institute. Her four beautiful children grew and flew. Then, finally, oldest daughter Sarah, equally ambitious and creative and a lover of baking, expressed a desire to share and expand upon her mother’s dream.
That dream is now a marvellous Merritt Restaurant – Brambles Bakery & Cafe – located downtown at 2151 Quilchena Avenue! Since its manifestation in 2009, it has quickly become a community hub for not only splendid soups created from fabulous home-made stocks, but brilliant breads and tantalizing treats made from the finest ingredients, one being a whole lotta love!

Brambles Bakery & Cafe

Brambles Bakery & Cafe is accurately described on its website:
“As soon as you walk through the door, you can feel the relaxing atmosphere, hear the laughter and chatter of our guests; you smell delicious food just before you see our exquisite treats and want to taste them – Brambles is a true delight for all your senses. 

A busy Community hub

Of course there is also the fun and friendly staff, a space for the kids to play, the eclectic menu with real, healthy food made from scratch, daily lunch specials, and a feeling of community.

Did we mention that our food is delicious?”

All of this is true, but there is more! 

The vibe at Brambles is laid-back, save the bustling staff, working hard to ensure that your order comes out quickly and accurately.

A selection of “Old World” breads

And there is no doubt that their home-crafted breads are brilliant! All of the breads, buns and focaccia are perfect for dipping in your soup du jour or for enclosing your favourite sandwich ingredients. They are made in the “Old World” way, using pre-fermented doughs with long, slow fermenting times, providing many health benefits. Brambles is a member of the Bread Bakers Guild of America, and Dorothy and Sarah often travel to symposiums to hone their bread-making skills. You’ll find sourdough, Alsatian rye, Country, and Multi-Grain-Seed breads daily, while extra-special ones are baked on certain days of the week. Have you ever tried sour cherry chocolate or sourdough cranberry bread? Oh, you must! 

And when they say “Best Buns”, you’d better believe it! 

Focaccia Breads

Never disappointing!

Brambles’ Brownies

You know how sometimes you choose something that looks amazing from the showcase in a bakery, but when you bite into it, it doesn’t come close to tasting as good as it looks? I cannot count the number of times that happened to me in the past.  It is darned disappointing! That never happens at Brambles Bakery & Cafe! Everything is made from scratch with real butter and fresh local ingredients where possible, and everything is truly fabulous.  My personal favourites include: Hazelnut Roulade, Rhubarb Torte Squares, Coconut Tarts, Lemon Squares, and Sticky Pecan Cinnamon Buns.

Oh, Sticky Pecan Cinnamon Buns, I love you so!

A Merritt Restaurant - Brambles Bakery & Cafe

Sticky cinnamon buns with pecans

It is also one of the few places in the Nicola Valley where you can find gluten-free and vegan options, with those options continually expanding.  The soups are gluten-free. You can have your sandwiches made with gluten-free bread, and you can also enjoy tantalizing GF treats such as Black Bean Brownies, Hazelnut Date Bars, Almond Lemon Cake with Raspberry Filling, and you can take home bags of gluten-free Granola.

Dodo serving sandwiches

Vegan Tuesdays

Today was “Vegan Tuesday”. I enjoyed the daily special, a delicious chickpea salad with apricots cashew sauce and greens with a side of home-made rhubarb chutney and a cup of bean soup!

Of course I had to have a treat to take home to enjoy with my afternoon tea, so I chose GF Carrot Cake. Cake is something this waistline does not need, but, oh, it wanted it so badly! I thought it might be a tad dry, as some GF baking tends to be, but no! It was Yum!

Brambles also serves healthful salads with a wide variety of dressing choices, and they have a liquor license, to boot!  You will find a selection of local Left Field Cider Company Ciders and near-local beer and wines.

Any Coffee in this Cafe?

Oh, dear! How can it be a Cafe without coffee? Espresso? Yes! Flavours? Yes! Drip? Yes! You can even get an added liqueur shot! Also a wide selection of teas, hot or iced!

Nicola Valley Honey

And, as if all that is not enough, there are shelves where you can browse for food and gifts to take away. You’ll find Brambles’ own packaged food items, local Nicola Valley Honey, as well as local food gifts. They also sell sturdy, colourful African Market Baskets, whose purchase helps to support humanitarian projects in the villages of Ghana. Methinks they would make a perfect picnic basket, loaded up with Brambles’ food to take up into the hills for a Food Adventure! Or to take home to a loved one! Any woman I know would think that was the best gift EVER!

Brambles Bakery and Cafe – A Dream Come True

Not only was this Merritt Restaurant – Brambles Bakery & Cafe – a dream-come-true for Dorothy and Sarah, it was a dream-come-true for the entire Valley.  At the time they opened their doors, there was little in the way of this special kind of place, and no bake-from-scratch bakery. It was an instant success and continues to thrive. Many out-of-towners have discovered this treasure, and stop in during their travels.

Sarah and Dorothy

Thank you, Dorothy and Sarah! I had my great idea of “the Quilchena Street Cafe” back in the day, but I am so happy that you saved me all that hard work!

And, never could I have pulled it off with such incredible panache!


PS Did you read my blog on the Quilchena Hotel One Eleven Bar and Grill meals? Pop over now and catch up!

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