The outside air is brisk; grated metal chairs tilt forward propped onto outdoor tables waiting for both the sun and guests to appear. Inside, a smile at the check-in station and murmured conversations blend with Aretha Franklin’s ‘Chain of Fools’ as the steady hiss of an espresso machine pulls one silky, caramel stream after another into warmed, waiting mugs. Booths and tables alike are at capacity as friends, family, and couples connect over steaming plates of Shrimp and Grits, Biscuit Boards stacked with house biscuits served with spoon fruit, local goat butter and spice honey, Croque Madames, or Breakfast Tamales . . . it’s just a typical Sunday Brunch at Feast Bakery Café in Bloomington.

We discovered Feast several years ago at one of the local Farmer’s Markets; it was a scorching hot summer day, the thermometer pushing 100 degrees. Vendors were under canopied stalls and as we entered the market, we noticed a very long line at a particular vendor table – Feast – and the single item available? Tamales. We purchased a 4-pak, some homemade mango salsa and headed home; we steamed our first batch and have been hooked ever since.

The Café is a small space with pale green walls, amber-colored pendant lights, a pastry case filled with breads, cakes, cookies and bars – all made from scratch on site. In fact, business has been so successful they need more prep space to keep up with demand; they’re opening a second location in Bloomington sometime this spring. Coffee, tea and pastries will be available at the second location while housing the entire baking operation in the back.

The fair-trade coffee is always fresh, the orange juice fresh-squeezed, and the wait staff is knowledgeable and efficient – right in line with the soothing ambiance of the place. And even though you will most likely leave with a full belly, you might be tempted to sneak a peek at what’s inside the pastry case and grab a little something for later. Lines may be a bit long, but customers are content to chat with friends while waiting for an open table; the comfortable atmosphere, combined with a flair for thoughtfully prepared fresh food, makes Feast Bakery Café a food destination worthy of the wait.

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