Pros: The best bread and baked goods in the city.
Cons: They won't let you use your debit card unless you purchase a specific amount.
Vlado and Sladjana Novakovic opened their wildly successful Nova Bakery, featuring Eastern European breads and pastries in the mid-90 in Charlottes South End. So popular were the baked goods, that Nova opened up a second location in Plaza Midwood soon after. Both are hopping busy, but the Plaza Midwood location seems to be the busiest consistently.
The bakery in South End is tucked away in a trendy Creole-style building housing the Pewter Rose, a popular eatery and a couple of clubs. It is small, but clean and accommodating. The day I visited, the owner was busily embroidering and had out samples of their wonderful breads and olive spread. She did seem a bit concerned that my baby was going to touch the bread, and that was off-putting. However, I forgave the personality glitch when I sampled their aromatic orange scone. Ive never been able to get one of these in the other location, so I was grateful Id come to this location this once. Parking is easy and free during the day, which is nice.
The location in Plaza Midwood is the busiest. Located right in the Tattoo District, it sees the most foot traffic. This location, since it is bustling, usually runs out of baked goods quicker that the other location. However, inside is clean and larger, with more selections. Parking here isnt terrible, but it is near impossible to get close to the front door. But hey, you are in Charlotte.
Offered at either location on any given day is a variety of breads that will thrill your senses. Country bread can be had in the form of baguettes for only $2.00. This is a long and thin crunchy bread that is sometimes thinly sliced and toasted to top with their delicious spreads or your own toppings for a delicious bruschetta. You must also try the Traditional French breads, available in baguettes, longs, rounds, Pullmans (which look like a loaf to me) and rolls. All are around just $2.00.
Other specialty breads are offered on a daily basis...if you get there early. Some to try would be the Whole Wheat Bread, Kalamata Olive Bread, Brioche (available with raisins!), Challah, Dark Rye bread, Marble Rye, Pumpernickel, Ficelle (long and thin), Sesame Semolina and Raisin-Pecan Bread. For the spicy food lover, there is also Jalapeno bread. These breads are all in the range of between $2 and $5 for the various sizes.
Special treats, these are the breads I just love, would include the Cranberry-Pecan Bread which comes in several different sizes. The 1.5 pound loaf is $7.00, but worth every penny. You must have some on your Thanksgiving table! Another delicious bread is the Chocolate-Orange bread, which is only available on Friday and Saturday.
If youve never tried this heady blend of chewy bread and delectable toppings, you are truly missing something divine. If you get these, they must be eaten right away, or kept in the fridge for just a few days. These are served in hunks for about $2.00 and a whole pan will fetch a price of nearly $40. Youd need the pan only for a party, it is huge. Toppings include Plain, Olive, Potato, Spinach, Basil Tomato, Broccoli, Artichoke, Mushroom, Onion & Rosemary and Garlic & Rosemary.
The flat focaccia is different because it is round and not as thick. These are about $5.00 each. Flavors for these include Garlic, Rosemary, Vegetable, Olive, Onion, Potato & Leek and Fresh Tomato.
Nova also makes decorative breads for any occasion, simply ask them!
Made from, presumably, the day-old bread at Nova, these crispy treats are delicious in their own right. The Parmesan toast is superb served on the side with a fresh Caesar salad. The Raisin Nut Toast is a delicious treat with eggs in the morning, and the Cranberry/Pecan toast is delicious served with a spring mix salad.
The first time I ever heard of Nova was at a Southern Womens show. These are held in a large venue and filled with local and other area vendors, some offering samples of their wares. Lucky for me, I happened down Novas aisle. There I sampled the most delectable spread for bread Ive ever tasted. Pure heaven. I grab a jar for every dinner party I give.
You may choose from Olive, Sun-dried tomato, Pesto and Garlic spreads, all ranging in price from about $4.00 to $9.00. The olive, of course, is my favorite.
Scones are my favorite. You can pick up a bag full for just $2.00 each. Flavors include Raisin, Cranberry, Spinach, Orange and Apple. Orange is quite delicious, but you have to get there early to get one!
Nova also has various sizes of muffins available. You may have mini, medium, regular and extra large. For the largest size they are only a $1.75 each. Flavors to choose from are Banana Nut, Cranberry, Blueberry, Chocolate chip, Coffee, Lemon Poppy and Glorious Morning. Low-fat muffins come in Apple Cinnamon, Blueberry, and Cranberry. Youll have to take their word for it, as Ive never seen any nutritional information on these.
Croissants are one of my favorite pastries (breads?) to get from Nova. Im in heaven when eating the Strawberry Cheese, but they also offer Plain, Chocolate, Blueberry Cheese, Almond and Poppy seed. Each are around $2.
Danishes are here and delicious, too. Tender and flaky with just the right amount of filling, these can be had for $1.75 each. Flavors include Apple, Apricot, Blueberry, Cherry, Cream Cheese, Lemon and Raspberry. My favorite is the Raspberry.
Granola comes in 1/2 pound bags and Im told is delicious. Granola is my health-conscious sisters thing, not mine! Anyway, it is about $4.00 for the bag and the flavors you may pick are plain, raisin and dried cranberry.
The cakes look so delicious here, you will not be able to help an indulgence now and again. Carrot Cake and Tiramisu look so delicious and can be had in 1/4-sheet cakes for $22.00, 1/2 sheet cakes for $30.00 and slices for just $2.25. The carrot cake is heavenly. Tender cake with just the right amount of moistness, and covered with a rich cream cheese frosting.
Think youve heard enough? Nope, you havent heard about the cheesecakes. You may order them whole or by the slice. Choose from NY Style, Strawberry, Cherry, and Marble. Whole cakes are around $20 and slices are merely $2.25.
Novas bakes pies that will make your Grandmother cry. For only $6.00 you get a full pie! Dutch Apple, American Apple, Blueberry, Lemon and Cherry are offered. Thanksgiving just got easier!
Brownies are a favorite dessert of mine and you may enjoy these treats for under $2.00 for a huge plank. Offered are Chocolate Chip and Marbled.
Know a Cookie Monster? The monster-sized cookies at Nova can tame him. Oatmeal Raisin, Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter, Cranberry and Apple cookies are available for under $2.00. Try the Peanut Butter!
Still not satisfied? Nova makes Cannoli, Eclairs, Baklava, Puff Pastry and Lemon bars for you for around $2.00 each. I love the Baklava!
If you are in need of a specific dessert, or any item they sell on a certain day, simply call in advance and theyll have it ready for you. You need to give them a two-day notice.
Nova Bakery is the top of the line bakery in Charlotte and has become, in a mere decade, an institution. It is even sold at Harris Teeters throughout the area. If you are ever in Charlotte, dont forget to stop in. Youll thank me.
1820 South Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28203
1511 Central Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28205
Open daily from 7-7pm
Cash and Credit cards accepted.