Old School Bakery has graduated from simply sweets and baked goods to an honors level menu.
The food is prepared in the common kitchen for all Ivywild School eateries and bars. The range of offerings is what sets it apart from others in the building. Breakfast is served from 7 to 11 a.m. daily. The menu for lunch and dinner is the same. This makes it the perfect spot to enjoy appetizers, a full meal or late night nibbles.
We took the entrée route. Four days a week, the casual dining restaurant offers a special. On Sundays, it's fried chicken ($11); Monday is mac and cheese ($10), then Taco Tuesday ($9) and Wednesday burgers, which change week to week ($9). Sundays are made for comfort food, so I went right for the chicken.
Three pieces of crispy, not greasy, juicy chicken share the plate with roasted Brussels sprouts. The crunchy coating on the chicken is not a thick layer, but a thin veneer incorporating herbs and subtle spices. It's not quite Grandma's version, but it beats the fast-food renditions. The charred vegetables, also available as an appetizer ($7), are drizzled with a balsamic reduction for a slightly tangy and salty flavoring.
Several burger, salad and sandwich options are available. Friends, regular readers and family members know I am not a goat cheese fan. Still, the pear and radish sandwich ($9) sounded intriguing. The downside was the presence of blue cheese of the goat variety. Thin sheets of pear and radish slices with arugula are layered on sliced crusty baguettes with the cheese, which is more like a spread. My friend agreed that it overwhelmed the other flavors of the sandwich. Some bites made it possible to discern each element, while other bites overshadowed the pear and radish. Radishes are not weak when it comes to making their presence known, so you know the cheese was robust.
The adult grilled cheese ($11) is a fun combination of gooey cheddar and provolone with slices of pleasingly salty bacon. Thick pieces of sourdough bread are slathered with tomato jam, which is sweet and savory. This sandwich is often best paired with tomato soup, but here it is hearty enough without it. A choice of sides accompanies all the sandwiches, and we selected french fries.
The Colorado classic burger ($13) is what you'd expect. A hand-pressed patty, cooked to medium-rare goodness, is topped with cheddar. The usual accoutrements of lettuce, tomato and pickle arrive aside the burger. The spent-grain bun was fine, but next time I will request the black pepper bun served with the other burger selections.
Those buns, and all of the breads, are all freshly made, but not on site. They're locally sourced from Delicias Bakery. Other baked items come from Hopscotch Bakery in Pueblo.
Orders are placed at the counter, and water is available, along with silverware and (cloth) napkins, from a station in the restaurant. Tables have placards with the Wi-fF password and reminders to bus your table.
The display of baked goods, along with a few samples, is situated where orders are placed. It's difficult to dismiss the images of the goodies, so we got a cookie to go as we left.
Although contact with employees is limited, everyone was friendly and quick to answer questions. Someone even cleared our table, although we were fully prepared to do so. The Old School Bakery earns high marks - and not just for the food.