Father’s Café and Bakery Joins the Community Market Family
For Father’s Café and Bakery, May 18 was like a family reunion.
After a five-year hiatus, owner Ken Reed and his team re-opened their ovens in a new location inside the Lynchburg Community Market. The bakery serves fresh and handmade breads, muffins, pastries and gourmet donuts.
“Welcome to our little hole in the wall,” said Reed.
After Reed moved from the Catskills in upstate New York to Lynchburg in 2004, he opened his first Lynchburg bakery, Father’s Table, in Forest. On March 29, 2014, Reed closed that shop and pursued a career at Runk & Pratt.
When the well-known Lorraine Bakery closed in the Lynchburg Community Market late last year, Reed looked into the space. The previous manager of the market was a former customer of Father’s Table and encouraged Reed to recharge his former passions.
Reed described the celebration of his bakery’s rebrand and re-opening as “humbling.”
“I think we will do okay here, it’s a good location. The people at the market are wonderful,” said Reed.
For hours on that first opening day, hungry customers waited in line for baked goods like ciabatta bread, cinnamon rolls, muffins, crusty French bread, danishes and other Reed-designed creations.
“The reception of the vendors and the shoppers has been overwhelmingly positive. I really felt welcomed last weekend,” said Reed.
Through laughs, the 63-year-old said the experience almost made him emotional.
“A lot of our old customers have come and are so happy that we are in business again. … It’s like I had unfinished business,” said Reed.
Hannah Frazier is the manager at Father’s Café and Bakery and previously worked at Lorraine Bakery as a crepe maker. When she knew her time there was coming to a close, she approached Reed and asked to be a part of his work family.
“[Reed] is so great, he is so nice and he is so respectful. It’s really hard to keep him from giving everything away,” said Frazier.
One example of his generosity and connection with the community—Reed added challah (a special bread in the Jewish community) to the menu per request of a local rabbi so that those local congregations can properly observe the Sabbath. Reed also works hard to ensure his breads are primarily GMO-free—they also use cage-free eggs.
Frazier described their home in the community market as having “a special atmosphere” and said there’s not another place in Lynchburg like it. With over 45 diverse vendors, the market has been a fixture in the city for generations.
“Where else are you going to go in Lynchburg where there are all these farmers and all these artisans?” said Frazier.
Reed started baking when he was 15 years old. He studied at culinary school in New York and later baked for a Bible college and Christian conference center in upstate New York. When he’s not baking, he’s outside in his garden or fishing. He practiced taxidermy for 20 years and enjoys working with his hands.
“But—baking is my passion,” said Reed.
By Lillian Abbatacola
Photos by Ashlee Glen