My friend Vimmi invited me to go check out this brand new bakery called Retro Oven that her friend Ivana opened in St. Pete. We each invited friends who invited their own friends, so we had a nice group of girls join us to test out her treats!
Ivana has already been baking wholesale for a few years, but she decided to add a storefront just last week. So far, the only advertising has been word of mouth, but it already seems to be very popular.
This place is a hidden gem. I’m sure if I didn’t know it was there, I would drive right past the strip center (the outside definitely doesn’t do it justice). It was a rainy Saturday morning with the remnants of Hurricane Hermine, but as soon as we stepped through the door, we were welcomed by the cozy, modern interior.
There was a mix of sweet and savory pastries, cakes, and breads. Ivana uses a lot of family recipes, and because of her Serbian background, the sweets aren’t quite as sugary as the typical American dessert (which is actually a relief – some bakeries add so much sugar to their concoctions that you get a headache afterwards).
She gave us several samples and even had slices of all her cakes for us to test out (I loved the European Hazelnut Walnut). We also tasted her homemade bread, which was hearty and full of all sorts of grains. I ended up ordering a cinnamon roll and cup of coffee to dip it in. And since Lance had to work, I picked him up a giant cookie to go.
Wishing her lots of success! If any of you are in the area, go and visit.
We ended up spending the afternoon in St. Pete. We visited the Indie Market at the Morean Center for Clay where I stocked up on my stash of Urban Canning Company’s D’anjou pear, ginger & habanero jam, got a cup of blueberry jalapeño ginger beer from Tidal Boar, and found a cool piece of art from The Messy Painter.
We finished with lunch at Bodega on Central – it was hot and sticky outside, but I really enjoyed my arepas and maduros. I’d love for Tampa’s downtown to eventually become as vibrant as the St. Pete scene since I’m on this side of the bay – we’ll get there one day.
Retro Oven Bakery is located at 2803 38th Ave N, St. Petersburg, FL 33713. They are open Monday – Friday 7:30am – 3:30pm and Saturday 8am – 3pm (they are closed on Sundays).
Bodega on Central is located at 1120 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33705. They are open Sunday – Wednesday 11am – 9pm and Thursday – Saturday 11am – 11pm.