Montrose has seen some exciting new restaurants open lately: Poscol, Little Big's and Feast. It's fun to discover something new. But there's also the opportunity to "discover something old" in the Montrose. For the last 15 years I've lived a block away from the intersection of West Alabama and Audubon Place. At the northwest corner of the intersection is an unassuming shopping center. Since moving to the neighborhood, I've driven, biked, walked, and jogged past it literally hundreds of times without taking notice of its shops. It is, in effect, hidden in plain sight.
That is, until this past week when one of the shops' signs finally registered: The Acadian Bakers. This old Montrose neighborhood joint may have been there all this time, but it was new to me.
As it turns out, The Acadian Bakers has been baking cakes and pastries of all shapes, flavors and sizes for more than 30 years from this location on West Alabama. Long before the Food Network was hosting sculptural cake showdowns, Acadian was making cakes in the shapes of buildings and airplanes. Wedding cakes are a specialty too, with generations of Houstonians ordering their cakes from here.
The shop also includes a deli that claims to serve the "best burgers" in Houston. Those are fighting words nowadays, with the influx of high-end hamburger joints like Five Guys and SmashBurger. I decided to give The Acadian Bakers cheeseburger a try.
It was an impressive-looking burger. The toppings were plentiful, and the bun was made from scratch and baked on premises. Unfortunately, the burger patty was unseasoned and flavorless. This may have been a candidate for best burger in Houston ten years ago, but the newer burger joints in town offer a far tastier burger.
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The deli also offers the usual selection of salads and sandwiches in addition to the requisite cookies, cakes and other baked goods. Based on my sampling, all the dishes are well-prepared, with large portions, and would make a great lunch if you're ever in the neighborhood.
As with any Houston business that's been around for more than 30 years, there's a history. The Acadian Bakers' slogan is "Baker to the Stars." Owner Sandra Bubbert has in fact baked cakes for celebrities, governors, presidents and heads of state. One whole wall of the deli's dining room is reserved for pictures of Bubbert with various dignitaries, including President George H. W. Bush and Bill and Hillary Clinton. It seems one thing Democrats and Republicans can agree on is a good cake.