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The Pastry Garden

The Pastry Garden

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Published by AThaxton

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Published by: AThaxton on Feb 23, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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06/16/2009

 
STORY AND PHOTOS BY VALERIE WELLS
“Ready for your cookie?”That question always comeswith a big smile at The PastryGarden at Gordon’s Creek indowntown Hattiesburg.The smiles come whenthe bakers and the waitershandout a free, freshly bakedcookieat the end of lunch. You haveyour choice: peanut butter,chocolate chip with macadamiaor snickerdoodle.Itfeels likehome and smellslike heaven. The sense of  belonging is as natural as thearoma of baking bread. As itturns out, most of the staff arerelated.“I like keeping family close,”said Chef Jim Hinton, as hiswife Sonyaprepped foodinthe kitchen.Their daughter Taylor, 18, isoften seen as the cashier run-ning the front of the shop. Theirson Lucas, 16, comes into the bakery after basketball practiceto make dough for the next day.All theHintonsare on afirst-name basis with regularcustomers and residents in theneighborhood who come in fora bowl of chicken noodle soupor to pick up a loaf of freshsourdough.“We treat everyone like fami-ly,” said Sonya Hinton.Sonya is from the area. Shegraduated from HattiesburgHigh School in 1986. Later, shewas a nanny in New Jerseywhere she met a guy in the U.S.Navy - Jim Hinton. They metthrough a church event for sin-gles. They got married and Jimwas stationed in Italy.When he got out of the Navyafter 10 years service, Jimattended the renownedCulinary Institute of America,graduated and became anaccomplished pastry chef. ThenSonya brought him toHattiesburg.About six years ago, theHintons opened The PastryGarden in a strip mall in OakGrove. Jim created fancy,European pastries and cakes.Some of the treats requiredexpensive ingredients andshoppers in Oak Grove didn’talways appreciate the moreexpensive delights.“You can’t have Atlantaprices outside Atlanta,” JimHinton said.About a year ago, The PastryGarden moved to downtownHattiesburg and began to focuson comfort foods like brownies,apple pie and carrot cake. Thelunch crowd gets a choice of fresh breads for sandwiches orsoups or salads. There’s a blueplate special during the weekand omelets for Saturday morn-ing breakfast.While cakes and pies and breads are the heart and soul of the bakery, the weekday lunchis what bringsin customerswhocan getfresh seven-grain bread on their BLT or maybe afocaccia sandwich. Jim Hinton said it’s all about“good food.”The pastry chef says down-town is a great place to start a business. He prefers it to the“cookie-cutter” strip mall andsayshis business is growing.Lunch time stays busyandwedding cake orders keep com-ing in. Even though his foodexpenses have gone up 20 per-
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it feels like home 
68• south mississippi scene

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