Fresh out the oven
James W. Hamlin, who grew up in the Druid Heights neighborhood, wanted to bring people back to Baltimore’s historic Pennsylvania Avenue. He hoped to provide the community with a valuable service and offer a unique product to entice visitors.
The result is The Avenue Bakery, which opened in the summer of 2011. The bakery makes cakes, pies, muffins, cookies, croissants and cobblers. By Thanksgiving of that year, word was out that the Avenue’s signature item, “Poppay’s” dinner rolls, were something special. The rolls, which Hamlin has been making for around 20 years, were named by his granddaughter Bria.
Poppay’s rolls at Thanksgiving have quickly become a tradition for many Baltimore-area families. They draw people from Virginia and Pennsylvania as well. Customers place orders well in advance, but the bakery makes dozens more available on a first-come, first-serve basis on the day before Thanksgiving.
Hamlin and his family and friends baked around 400 dozen rolls this week, working around the clock since Monday night.
Jules Howie, a regular customer, picked up her rolls Wednesday afternoon and said the bakery is “a treasure, a beacon of light in the community.”
James W. Hamlin, owner of The Avenue Bakery in Druid Heights, pulls a tray of his “Poppay’s” dinner rolls from the dough proofer. Next, they’ll be transferred to the oven for baking.
Regular customers Grace, 8, left, and Jules Howie leave The Avenue Bakery on Wednesday with a dozen rolls. Jules Howie said the bakery is “a treasure, a beacon of light in the community.”