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Samantha’s Bakery & Café resides in the heart of downtown Arkadelphia. The cuteness of the tiny, aqua-colored shop practically pulls you through the door. Or maybe it was the smell of cinnamon rolls on an early Friday afternoon that did the trick. Either way, I was stoked to try the brainchild of Conor and Samantha Brown, who opened the bakery/café in 2018. The two have strong ties to the area.
“Samantha is from Prescott, and I am from Benton. She went to Henderson State and received a degree in Early Childhood Education. After having a less than enjoyable experience teaching kindergarten for a year, she decided to pursue the challenge of opening a bakery with me,” says Conor Brown.
He continues, “She grew up with some sort of homemade dessert at every family gathering, watching her Nana and aunt make all of them. This inspired her as she grew up to try making desserts, and they always had to be from scratch. She thought baking from a box was too easy and loved the challenge that came with making everything from scratch. There was never any question about whether or not our items would be made this way because it’s what she always knew. Additionally, we have both always been intrigued by small, local and delicious restaurants, coffee shops, and bakeries, so the thought of creating our own was thrilling and got the ball rolling toward making that dream a reality.”
One step inside the shop, and you’re hooked. There’s house-made granola and artisan chocolate on the counter, a full menu of coffee and tea drink selections on a sign above, and even a small freezer with four flavors of Loblolly ice cream. There are baked goods, like the ever-popular Sprankle cookie—a sugar cookie rolled in rainbow nonpareils–and a cinnamon roll that easily falls into the category of the best I’ve had in Arkansas. But save some room for sandwiches. Those are good, too. The buttery grilled cheese comes loaded with sharp cheddar cheese and should probably be ordered with the thick-cut sourdough. I mean, is there any better bread for a grilled cheese sandwich? I say no. You cannot go wrong with washing it all down with an iced coffee in the summer months. Conor recommends The Scrappy Mocha.
“It gets its name from one of our dogs. It is a white chocolate mocha with a caramel drizzle. The white chocolate sauce comes from KYYA Chocolate out of Elm Springs, the caramel sauce is made in-house, and it’s finished off with Onyx Coffee Lab Southern Weather espresso or cold brew.”
Do you see a theme here? There are no shortcuts at Samantha’s Bakery & Café, and from the sound of it, the local community appreciates it, as do the Browns.
“It has been a great experience having our place in Arkadelphia. We feel like it has been a great starting point for our business, as we have dreams to hopefully expand into other Arkansas cities. Our customers are loyal. And it’s always great to talk with them about what they like or would like to see in the future. It has created a lot of opportunities for reflection and growth. We also definitely love seeing the familiar faces from our community,” says Conor Brown.
And while the somewhat far distance from Little Rock to Arkadelphia may prohibit me from becoming a regular, I’m sure glad I found Samantha’s Bakery & Café. I suggest you do the same.
The Turkey Chipotle, which comes with avocado, smoked turkey, tomato (from Ray 5 Farm in Carthage), and chipotle mayo on your choice of house-made bread, is one of the most popular sandwiches. All the bread, including white, wheat, focaccia, and sourdough, is made in-house. Cinnamon rolls are available on Monday and Friday.
Samantha’s Bakery & Cafe
507 S. 7th St. (Arkadelphia)
Hours: Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Closed Saturday & Sunday
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