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Good Eats: Good Roads Bakehouse: Strengthening Community in a Unique and Delicious Way

“Quirky is fun. Different is cool.” Wise words from Good Roads Bakehouse co-founder Karri Roberts as she and husband Dan Cannon spoke about their appreciation for roadside attractions, folk art, and the American west in creating the delightfully unique and inviting atmosphere that is their bakery and trade post in Frankford. 

Aside from the delicious aroma that I encountered upon entering the Bakehouse, I was immediately taken with the beautiful artwork, courtesy of Karri, who is a brilliant artist. The Trade Post is a peaceful room where the walls and ceiling are adorned with clouds and the shelves stocked with vintage, unique, and handmade items. 

This special place is a joint creative outlet by the couple. Karri’s creative outlet is providing the Trade Post and bakery with interesting goods and decor, along with the customer experience as she works behind the counter on Fridays. She has a keen interest in local farming, and delights in talking shop with the local farmers, while operating her own farmstead with a menagerie of loved animals and a garden. Last summer, she was able to sell heirloom tomatoes that she had handled and grown since February. Her goods for the Trade Post are often found from nearby estate sales and such, giving her a chance to keep everything local and to re-purpose her neat finds. She even finds antiques that she enjoys displaying as part of the local history, including some cloth feed sacks from the now-closed Southern States store. 

For Dan, the creative outlet is all in the food. He creates all of Good Roads’ baked goods completely from scratch and as locally sourced as possible. He and Karri both emphasize a strong community based approach to running their business. As Dan pointed out, “Greenbrier County lends to people being self-sufficient, which then allows me to, for example, support the local blueberry farm for their blueberries in season.” Dan gets blueberries from White Oak Blueberry Farm in Renick. He purchases meat weekly from Spring Creek Superior Meats in Frankford. Eggs are sourced from Heritage Mountain Farm and they brew Mountain Table Coffee, roasted right here in Renick. Dan also uses local Taft Cochran Family Farm honey in many of his recipes, “The fact that we’re able to, just within a few miles of the bakery, find that much of what I use every week, is incredible,” said Dan. “And when the blueberries are in season and people go up the road and pick from one of many blueberry farms in the area, they’re able to come here and get a treat made with those same blueberries, it’s just great.” 

Karri added, “People get hungry picking berries. To be able to provide them with a treat, and maybe a pepperoni roll, this close without them having to drive further, is awesome.” Karri mentioned that their slogan is “It’s Worth the Drive.” She said, “We want to make that true as much as we can. You can buy food, for the whole weekend here, and your kids will have fun looking at things. You can buy a gift here. You can buy produce here at certain times.” Dan added, “My goal every week is to give you about twenty options to choose from: two breads; pizza, brownies, cookies, quiche, pepperoni rolls, soft pretzels…so that when you do come in you really want to try a little bit of everything and stock up.” 

On the day I spoke to Dan and Karri, Dan was planning to make some turnovers with apples and local pears. He has also recently started trying out dinner size pot pies for individuals to take home. He often does a sweet potato, black bean, and feta turnover, which I did not get a chance to sample, but it sounded delicious. He prefers selling his made-from-scratch all butter crust turnovers rather than a lot of mass produced pies, because he’s able to get a delicious product with a good, flaky pie crust into the hands of the customers without sacrificing the quality he is determined to consistently provide. 

Karri said, “We’re here for you and it’s a hundred percent handmade, using the purest ingredients. There are no shortcuts, everything is from the true ingredients.” “It’s all from scratch, from one person with a second set of hands to help several hours a week,” explained Dan, adding that is the reason for their hours of operation (Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) Karri added, “This just doesn’t happen overnight.” 

Although the delicious creations Dan bakes take time and effort, he has a mission to provide something for his takeout customers who may want to eat a wholesome snack while on the run. “People want something they can eat while going down the road. I can provide you a quick snack to keep you going, a soft pretzel, a pretzel dog, a piece of quiche, a mini cake. A lot of it is convenience driven, something you can just take with you to eat.” Good Roads is open until 4 on Fridays, which gives the teachers, parents, and students of Frankford Elementary a chance to grab a quick bite before heading to after school activities. 

Dan said, “This is how I’m able to use my craft. I see this more as my workshop than a restaurant, where I spend my time preparing and baking, then we open the doors two days a week. While we’re only open nine hours a week, it’s really remarkable how many people stream through the door in that short span. We’ll have fresh pizza coming out of the oven if you get here in the afternoon. If you get here in the morning, you may get a cinnamon roll baked and iced just moments ago. So, it’s an active baking scene. When you come in, there’s often something coming out of the oven that you can get fresh.” 

In addition to having that feature to offer customers, Dan also says it’s nice to be a bit of a roadside attraction along Rt. 219 that makes folks want to stop in and visit, to see what’s going on every week. “Everyone wants something to look forward to,” Dan said. Good Road’s ability to offer their treats a couple days on the weekend, as opposed to six days a week, keeps the food fresh, and provides customers their weekly sweet treat, or even a meal for the evening or the next day. Dan’s love for his craft and for his community was evident as he spoke, saying, “The opportunity to provide this to the community is remarkable.” 

Aside from providing a unique, high quality dining and shopping experience, Dan and Karri hope to add even more interesting decor to their bakery. Karri is currently working on a large paper mache armadillo to display on the shelf. She’s painting more tables. She hopes to eventually expand the Trade Post to offer more locally grown produce, and to offer more necessities. 

Dan Cannon, the guy living his dream, making really good food from scratch.

Karri also talked about a nostalgic memory of riding the coin-operated horses that used to sit in front of grocery and department stores in the mid-1980s. She loves the idea of putting one of those on the porch of the bakery. “If anyone has a coin-operated pony to sell for a reasonable price, hit me up,” she said. She wants to make the bakery a fun, comfortable place for people of all ages. “I’m looking for the stuff that makes a place memorable.” 

When I asked Dan and Karri about their favorite aspect of Good Roads Bakehouse, and being part of the community, Dan’s answer was clear. “We’ve become a weekly stop for many families. Some of our regular customers are here first thing every Saturday to sit and enjoy a warm piece of quiche. What a special thing to be that place in a small, rural community. To be able to make a living here, support so many local businesses, and feed our neighbors, it’s such a blessing. They’re providing us with the opportunity to be within this community, to raise our animals, and we do our best to provide the best experience possible.” 

Before I left the bakery, I asked Karri and Dan what’s the main thing they want the readers to know about their bakery. Karri succinctly answered, “Really good food made from scratch by a guy living his dream. We’re really happy to be doing this, and we’re super grateful to be doing it here.” Dan added, “I make it my goal every week that when you come in here on Friday, it has been worth your drive and worth your time. There are a lot of options of places you can eat, so I’m grateful for every person that walks in that door and supports us.” 

Good Roads Bakehouse is located across from the Frankford Elementary School at 131 Lewis Lane in Frankford. They are open on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

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Lisa Coburn
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