The Bun Appetit Bakery and Deli, 215 Main St, is poised for expansion. Its owner, Jodi Metcalf, is not planning to undergo a construction project, but the plans she is about to bring to fruition will offer the community so much more than the delectable treats so many have come to know and enjoy there.
Metcalf’s father was born and raised in Groton City, and she was raised in Groton. Immediately after graduation, she began her career working in local factories for six years, before finding her niche working for Cornell Dining for the next 18 years. It was there that she learned a great deal about the food service industry.
Metcalf began to realize she had what it takes to run her own business. In 2003, she purchased a failing wholesale muffin distributorship, turned it around, and made it a success in short order.
After about four years into it, gas prices began to soar, and Metcalf knew she needed to expand her horizons to stay afloat. Ironically, the old Texaco gas station on Main Street became available for purchase. Metcalf seized the opportunity, purchased the building, began baking more than just muffins, and found herself well on her way to a successful local bakery business.
By 2013, Metcalf had expanded her bakery to include breakfast sandwiches, homemade soups and deli items, as well as adding local employees to assist her. She had also dedicated a rental space in one part of the bakery to create opportunities for other local entrepreneurs to display and sell their products or services.
With the heart Metcalf has for helping Groton and its people, it was not altogether surprising to me to see and hear about the ways she now plans to expand the bakery’s offerings!
At Metcalf’s invitation, I stopped down at Bun Appetit on a Saturday afternoon to see the transformation of her new eat-in dining room; the area formerly used as rental space. It is truly lovely and was filled with groups of people enjoying lunch.
The space can accommodate 20-30 people, and Metcalf is now making it available to rent for private gatherings. The walls are adorned with photographic prints by local artists. There are two separate seating areas; one that is set to display local sports photography, and the other to feature the landscape and architecture of the Groton area.
While there, I met and spoke with two local photographers, both Groton High School alumni, whose work is displayed there; Adrian Mitchell ’03, of Old Stage Photography, and John Brehm ’99 of John Brehm Photography.
As one who played football, basketball, and baseball at Groton, Mitchell said sports photography is one of his main passions, so he attends many games around town taking photos, and especially enjoys capturing players in motion.Mitchell became an avid photographer in 2007 when his twin sons were born. He was encouraged by a friend to sell his work, so he opened his business on Old Stage Road in 2014.
Brehm’s passion for photography was born when he was in high school. He had a camera he acquired from a relative, started using it, and began to realize he had a gift for it as others took notice of his work. In recent years, he has also focused on taking photos of sports events and landscapes.
Metcalf hired Brehm to take product photos for her bakery walls, which gave her the vision of displaying local artists’ work, rotating pieces on the walls, and giving them the opportunity to offer the prints for purchase.
Brehm is taking the lead on getting the photos displayed, and Bun Appetit’s walls are open to any Groton photographers who would like to have their work considered by contacting him at John@johnbrehmphotography.com.
In an entirely different vein, Metcalf has also expanded the bakery’s offerings to include the sale of fresh local Black Angus beef, raised by Groton alumnus, Justin DeGraw ’02.
DeGraw has been running his family farm at 702 Sovocool Hill Road for the past four years, but it’s been in his family since 1958 when his parents, Milton and Durcy, started it as a dairy farm, but by 2002, they were full-on into the beef business.
DeGraw’s beef is hormone and antibiotic free, pasture-raised, and grain-fed. It can be purchased from the freezer at the bakery, or DeGraw may be reached at (607) 343-6987 for more information.
Last, but certainly not least, is an amazing partnership that Metcalf has formed with James Alexander of Alexander’s Meals food truck. By joining forces with Alexander, the scope of catering opportunities for both businesses will broaden considerably.
Alexander and his wife, Katy, have lived locally for 14 years but moved to Groton in 2017. They have 3-year-old twins who attended Head Start in Groton as infants. They began to realize what a great little town Groton is, and made it their mission to move here.
For the past five years, the Alexanders have operated their food truck in the Cornell Business Park in Ithaca, and at various events and local wineries. Specializing in salads, roasted vegetables, homemade mac & cheese, fresh chicken, Nathan’s hot dogs, and more, “Hearty. Healthy. Homestyle.” is their motto.
Metcalf met Alexander in 2015 and encouraged him to be a vendor at Groton Olde Home Days. He did. They reconnected there in 2018 when Alexander arranged with Metcalf to offer her bakery items on the food truck.
Another need Alexander had at the time was to find a local commissary space for the food truck, which is a certified commercial kitchen, where he could store or prepare food beyond what the truck could accommodate. Metcalf was quick to offer the bakery, and that is where the partnership began.
The fusion of Bun Appetit and Alexander’s does not end with catering, as they are both excited about the different ways they can benefit one another. Alexander’s will be on-site at Bun Appetit a few times during the week, beginning with a grand kick-off on Thursday, March 28 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., or until the food runs out!
For more information on catering, contact Alexander at (607) 342-4693 or JAlexander02@yahoo.com or Metcalf at (607) 898-4162 or Yodah25@yahoo.com, or find either on Facebook.
Groton on the Inside appears weekly. Submit news ideas to Linda Competillo, firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-227-4922.
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