Thanksgiving cooks looking for deals on day-old bread may be disappointed to learn that an iconic Baltimore source – the H&S Bakery Outlet in Fells Point – has shut its doors for good.
“However will we make stuffing now?” lamented Baltimore Sun columnist and writer Jean Marbella on X, formerly known as Twitter, posting a screen-shot from a Yelp page with a headline “Yelpers report this location has closed.”
A visit to 1616 Fleet St., with smells wafting from the sprawling main H&S bakery nearby, confirmed what social media had to say: the outlet store is gone. Signs have been removed. Windows are covered from the inside.
No more loaves at two for a dollar. No more discount brioche buns and potato rolls. Gone is the “one-stop shop for your bakery needs,” as Yelp reviewer Maggi R put it in 2019. “If you have never stopped into the outlet store, you should. The smell of baking bread will draw you in, and you will not be disappointed.”
The Paterakis family, owners of H&S and major landowners and developers along the eastern Baltimore waterfront, hinted that the outlet store had fallen out of favor earlier this year as they prepared for the opening of their newest venture a few blocks away.
As they assumed roles in the family business, a younger generation of Paterakises found the outlet store “shabby and borderline embarrassing,” according to the Baltimore Banner. “They wondered how the company’s only retail presence was ‘an old thrift store,’” as one family member put it.
That’s different today. While the outlet store is closed, a few blocks away is Kneads Bakeshop and Café, a large, airy space in Harbor East with a café, a retail shop and a 13,000-square-foot commercial bakery that turns out 171 different products.
“Go to Kneads to buy your bread, pies, and Thanksgiving meal!” said Kira Paterakis Nissley, a founder and co-owner of Kneads, in response to a Baltimore Fishbowl question (well, actually Marbella’s question) about where Baltimoreans should go for stuffing ingredients.
So we stopped by to review the offerings, and were promptly guided on an impromptu tour by sales manager Kristin Graham. She described with pride the equipment needed to create artisanal breads, including conveyor lines specially constructed for the business and giant mixers that get their flour from rooftop silos that hold 10,000 pounds and get loaded with vacuum pumps.
“Sticky dough needs extra love,” Graham said, describing why machinery needed to be specially ordered. “We took the old world and the new world and put it together.”
Employees of the outlet store found a new home at Kneads. Theoni Cornias, who worked for 20 years at the discount shop, is the packaging manager.
At the old store, “it was knowing everyone,” she said. Customers would tell her that their grandmothers bought bread from the store. “It is different,” she said. “It was more mom and pop.”
Kneads is a much bigger operation, with more than 130 employees. It fits in seamlessly with the shine of Harbor East.
Unsold Kneads goods are donated to food pantries and elsewhere, Graham said. There are no more fifty-cent loaves. The bread on the shelf at Kneads retails for $9 a loaf.
Perhaps you get what you pay for. Kneads bread has no additives or preservatives, unlike the day-old commercial loaves of Sunbeam, Schmidt and Holsum at the outlet.
The Paterakis family is not ready to announce its plans for the now-shuttered 1616 Fleet St. shop. But this much is certain: there will not be another outlet store, Paterakis Nissley said.