It takes guts to work in the food business. It’s a lot of hard work with low margins and long hours. Nearly everybody who goes into the industry has that moment where they stop and think “What am I doing?” There’s plenty of reason for self-doubt. One famous and oft-quoted study from the late 1990s found that 80% of restaurants close within five years of opening. With odds like that, it takes smarts to succeed but it takes pure guts to even get out there and give it a shot.
Perhaps Society Bakery owner/operator Roshi Muns can take comfort in the fact that her business has been alive and well since 2003, and even achieved superstardom after Ellen Degeneres and AOL named them one of the Top Ten Cupcakes in America. A few accolades later, Muns decided to try something new, but she didn’t want to stray too far from her existing core product. “I like bakers’ hours,” she explains, as a reason for not treading on the well-worn dinner expansion path, “and I’m constantly looking to stretch myself and bring new items to our bakery.”
That explains why fans of the Greenville Avenue bakeshop’s cakes and cupcakes met with a surprise on May 21 when the new pastry and savory menu was rolled out for breakfast and lunch. Fans of morning baked goods will find a selection of cinnamon rolls, croissants, muffins and scones as well as quiches or yogurt parfaits. There’s also a lineup of toasts, which Muns explains comes from her longtime morning routine dating back to childhood. There’s rye toast with cream cheese, cucumber, smoked salmon and dill; there’s another of pumpernickel topped with ricotta cream cheese, seasonal berries, basil, and luscious strawberry preserves; a jalapeno cheese toast topped with pimento cheese, hard boiled eggs and tomato (try it with Nueske “happy” bacon from humanely raised pork) and an almond butter, caramelized banana and feta toast that Elvis would certainly be proud of.
There are also some new protein salads such as Tuna Salad (which has sunflower seeds for extra crunch), Cranberry Almond Chicken Salad, Thai Bird Chicken Salad (red chiles give it a kick), and Texas Pimiento Cheese which can also be enjoyed as a sandwich alongside the Hill Country Grilled Cheese or House Roasted Natural Turkey Breast sandwiches. Sandwiches can be served hot or cold, and indecisive salad lovers can enjoy a trio of three salads as an entrée.
For the new savory menu, Muns looked to new Executive Chef Erron Star Depew. Originally from Dallas, Depew comes from stints at TopGolf in Dallas (where she invented mushi) and operating a food truck on the Garden Isle of Kaua’i. Both ladies, who are longtime friends, spoke of a shared heritage of enjoying uncomplicated flavors with a focus on the highest quality ingredients enjoyed at the peak of freshness.
“When we were dreaming up the new savory menu, we wanted to stay true to the heart of Society Bakery, which is to serve traditional offerings with an unexpected and ‘fresh’ twist,” said Depew. “It speaks to Roshi’s vision for this launch that she would hire a team of chefs to focus entirely on this side of the menu – she doesn’t half heart anything.”
Sandwiches are available from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; other savory items are available during opening hours or while supplies last. Get a couple different items to try, for they’re very well-priced—salads range from $5 to $7.95; sandwiches from $5.95 to $6.95; and toasts from $3.95 to $4.95.
Many thanks to Society Bakery for their hospitality and furnishing samples from their new savory menu in preparation for this story.