Buttercloud Bakery & Cafe
At first glance, it seems naive to site a new bakery practically in the shadow of Medford's beloved Great Harvest Bread Co.
Or maybe Gibson and Ellen Holub are betting the location that served Great Harvest so well before its recent move down Genessee Street will prove just as lucrative for their Buttercloud Bakery & Cafe.
While Great Harvest could serve sandwiches only by relocating to larger digs, the Holubs — Rogue Valley newcomers — already have rolled out an innovative menu with Buttercloud's namesake biscuits. For anyone who patronized the "little white house" on the corner of Jackson and Genessee before Buttercloud's debut a month ago, rest assured that the Holubs have ample room to seat customers. And their kitchen seems positively spacious without the former bakery's towering racks of bread.
Without a loaf in sight, Buttercloud satisfies on the baking front with sticky buns, muffins, scones, brownies, cookies and fruit and cream pies. The pillowy biscuits — truly deserving of their metaphoric moniker — cost $1.50 apiece and are vehicles for six types of sandwiches, as well as daily specials.
Pulled pork, roast beef with blue cheese, roasted vegetables with goat cheese and chicken breast with pear are standard sandwich selections, priced from $6.50 to $6.75. Two breakfast sandwiches (each $5.75) — one with scrambled egg, the other's fried — also are available until 2 p.m. because bacon and Rogue Creamery cheese beckon no matter the time of day.
Rogue also furnishes smoky TouVelle for Buttercloud's macaroni and cheese, billed as a side dish, along with bacon-spiked baked beans, braised collard greens, a Romaine salad and soup of the day. But order two of these, and you've got a hearty meal at a very reasonable price.
Never one to pass up mac and cheese, I tacked on an order with collard greens to my "farmhouse" sandwich, knowing full well I'd have food to take home. My co-worker ordered a bowl of the day's soup, turkey chili, with a biscuit and homemade jam.
Because both of the day's jams — fig and pear butter — sounded so good, we asked for one more serving. While $1 per jam may seem a bit steep, the cost reflects its small-batch preparation from high-quality, seasonal ingredients. Indeed, the bakery's mission is showcasing locally produced, artisan edibles in the guise of comfort foods.
Buttercloud plays up its hip-meets-homespun identity with Mason jars as water glasses, antique-looking silverware displayed in old, metal flour sifters and thick, wooden doors repurposed as tabletops. The bakery's logo of a pat of butter, marked with a "B" and floating on a cloud likewise evokes simplicity.
The food also is about simple goodness. The mac and cheese ($4) and collards ($2.50) both had pleasing yet uncomplicated flavors. I only wish Buttercloud served the former in individual gratin dishes to ensure maximum reheating potential, rather than cutting portions from a large pan.
A thinner slice of tomato may have heightened my enjoyment of the delicate but filling sandwich ($5.75), accented with basil aioli. While the biscuits' size don't exactly suggest a large sandwich, the stack was piled plenty high.
My co-worker's chili ($4) likewise struck a balance between refined seasoning and substantial texture. She approved of the subtle, smoky burn while I liked the hint of red wine. Both jams were the sublime essence of distilled fruit and worthy of adding to our doggie bag.
With so much food on our hands, we skipped a "slice o' pie" ($4.25), cocoa-nib brownie ($2.25) or oatmeal-bourbon-cherry cookie ($1.75). Had we wanted to linger in the bright, pleasant space, Buttercloud's selection of teas, hot chocolate, French-press coffee, espresso and craft sodas would have been welcome. The restaurant also serves a rotating selection of local wines and craft beers.
— Sarah Lemon