When Adam Ritter first described his ideal customer for Kermit’s Bake Shoppe, I wondered just how many people out there were looking to grab a pizza, salad, and cake for a party all from the same place and all on the same day. But now that this combination bakery and pizza shop is open, I find myself inventing such scenarios. It’s your birthday? How about I bring a massive antipasto salad of shredded genoa salami, pepperoncini and roasted red peppers? Eagles game? In addition to that sausage-and-pepper pizza, would you prefer a fruit tart or the “24 Carat” carrot cake from pastry chef (and Next Great Baker competitor) Chad Durkin? The possibilities here are endless, and so is the potential at this collaborative effort between Ritter (who also owns the Sidecar and Kraftwork gastropubs), Durkin, and Sidecar chef Brian Lofink. After months of testing, the triumvirate is turning out a pizza crust that’s thin but not Neapolitan, with a winning combination of crunch and chew. The sauce is slightly sweet, but not saccharine.
On the bakery side, Durkin has been set loose, whipping up fresh breads daily as well as cookies, house-made pop tarts, a phenomenal butterscotch pecan brownie, and other tantalizing confections.
Not everything is a runaway success—the chicken spaetzle soup lacked any chicken (which kind of makes it an automatic failure), but maybe that’s for the best, since the house-smoked chicken added to a salad had too many bits of cartilage and sinew. But these are small hiccups for the ambitious bakeshop on the border of Graduate Hospital and Point Breeze.
My biggest question remains, how am I going to rationalize eating three croissants on a Saturday morning?
Kermit’s Bake Shoppe
2204 Washington Avenue
First appeared in the October, 2013 issue of Philadelphia magazine.