Tasty delights await at Lynchburg’s locally owned bakeries.
By Laura Lee
An old adage says the best way to someone’s heart is through their stomach, and anyone who’s dined in Lynchburg will agree. Mom-and-pop shops and artisan bakers honor rich Southern traditions with fresh creativity, global influence and an entrepreneurial spirit. Satisfy your sweet tooth at one of these top Lynchburg bakeries — or go ahead and try them all!
Nicole Davidson moved from Nashville back home to Lynchburg to start a bakery with her sister, Chelsea Doebler. In just a short time, they’ve grown from a food truck business to their very own cafe on Main Street. “We bake small, and we bake fresh,” says Davidson. Batter Bar specializes in Japanese street-style crepes with savory and sweet fillings, scratch-made pop tarts, and freshly baked croissants.
“Our mother is Chinese, and we just fell in love with Asian culture,” says Davidson. “We’re big foodies and tried Harajuku-style crepes in other cities and knew the people in Lynchburg would love them.”
The portable dessert can be rolled up in a cone and enjoyed anywhere. Choose from creative combinations like the Banana Crunch with cookie butter, banana, caramel and pretzel crunch or the Maple Bacon Apples with brown sugar pepper bacon, cheddar, cinnamon apples and maple syrup. Gluten-free options are available.
Father’s Café & Bakery
Founded in 1783, the Lynchburg Community Market is one of the oldest continuous markets in the country, where local food vendors and artisan bakers have been celebrated for centuries. Visit the market today, and the aroma of fresh doughnuts, almond croissants and sourdough bread from Father’s Café & Bakery fills the air. Father of five, Ken Reed opened Father’s Cafe & Bakery in the popular open-air market three years ago, and it’s been satisfying customer cravings ever since.
Reed moved to Lynchburg when his daughter enrolled at Liberty University. He’d worked for bakeries and hotels in upstate New York and Boston and was excited to open up his own place in Virginia. “One of my passions is baking—I’ve done this most of my life,” says Reed. “My style is old-school traditional, where 95 percent of what I do is scratch baking.”
Mrs. Joy’s Absolutely Fabulous Treats
As a design student, Tarsha Joyner created a mock bakery business for a University of Lynchburg assignment. She loved what she designed — all she had to do was learn how to bake. So she tried out, and won, the 2015 Food Network “Christmas Cookie Challenge,” along with $10,000 to start her business. Joyner, or Mrs. Joy, has since gone on Food Network’s “Project Bakeover,” “Dessert Games,” and “Haunted Gingerbread Showdown.”
Mrs. Joy’s Absolutely Fabulous Treats offers a range of edible art from macarons and cupcakes to her now-famous “Big AF” cookies, that’s for Absolutely Fabulous of course! Mrs. Joy’s is located in the heart of downtown Lynchburg on Commerce Street.
Chestnut Hill Bakery
This long-time bakery boasts the best cakes and pies within 100 miles. Chestnut Hill Bakery has been serving the Lynchburg community for more than 50 years, with original family recipes still used today.
The bakery is now run by Glenda and Colonel Richard Hinkley, who is also the chief of police for Liberty University. While Chestnut Hill is the go-to for birthday cakes and wedding cakes, their wide selection also includes pound cakes, cinnamon buns, frosted cookies and butter rolls. The bakery’s extensive menu of pies includes classics like egg custard and apple to pecan, sweet potato and coconut, that even your grandmother would approve of.
Simply Vanilla Gourmet Cheesecakes
It might be in the name, but there is nothing vanilla about Simply Vanilla Gourmet Cheesecakes. Here, you’ll find smooth, creamy cheesecakes in a variety of tantalizing flavors and loaded with toppings like pecans, chocolate drizzle, whipped cream and caramel.
It all started when one of Jessica Kercher’s friends tried one of her mini peanut butter cheesecakes and encouraged Kercher to start her own cheesecake business. In 2018, Kercher officially launched the gourmet cheesecake business out of her home. To keep up with demand, she opened a storefront in 2019 and a second shop in 2021.
“The Central Virginia community is really something special and is so supportive of small businesses,” says Kercher. “There’s such a joy that comes with creating something and sharing it with someone else.”
Kercher uses the highest quality ingredients like real coconut milk, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, pureed raspberries and fresh cream. More than just a cheesecake factory, you’ll also find fresh baked goods like monster brownies and cookies, scones, fruit bars, cream puffs, whoopie pies, cannoli and danishes. Gluten-free and keto options are also available.
Still craving more? Check out more desserts and bakeries HERE.
Laura Lee is a Virginia-based freelance writer who loves to explore the state with her husband, two boys, and dog, Lillian.