Crust Artisan Bakery on U.S. Highway 98 opened in the spring of 2012, gaining immediate popularity with the local crowd, and tourists soon followed. South Walton residents Kim and Mark Fressell knew the niche they were trying to fill, and they have already succeeded.
In less than six months, and with the help of their builder Onno Horn, Kim and Mark have already expanding their cafe, retail, and wholesale operations selling to area restaurants, and have added an exterior deck.
Baked goods, interesting and hard-to-find gourmet specialty items, deli items, salads and sandwiches are available, with the pizza still being the most sought after menu item. I spoke with the owners about their motivation, and what gave them the inspiration to open Crust Artisan Bakery this past spring. Kim said, ““I have worked in the restaurant industry for 26 years. I studied artisan bread baking at the San Francisco Baking Institute. My husband Mark is an Engineer, and was raised in very passionate Italian family. We felt every great city has a great bakery, and we wanted to fill this niche for our area.” Committed to incorporating artisan techniques and equipment into making Crust artisan breads, the Neapolitan style pizza, pastries, and pastas are one of a kind. Kim says, “We source the best possible ingredients, looking for small artisan producers of cheese, salami, and pasta. Whenever possible, we source local produce and specialty items from local growers, and we look forward to shopping the Seaside Farmers Market each week.”
Though Crust Artisan Bakery is not organic, the Fressell’s do produce breads using organic spring wheat flower. Kim says, ”We try our best to accommodate the dietary restrictions of our customers. We’re currently experimenting with fava bean and garbanzo bean flour.”
The restaurant has an old-world charm, and the menu is presented on a chalkboard, as well as printed. The aroma of fresh-baked bread billows in the air, and a glass case full of sweet pastries is overly tempting to passers by. I indulged in a flaky crème filled croissant, followed by the pizza margherita, which was topped with tomato, fresh mozzarella, basil, and olive oil. My husband sampled the fine and thinly sliced prosciutto pizza, savoring the sweet and salty flavors which married with the roasted peppers, mozzarella and peppery arugula topping the thin hand-tossed wood-fired crust; a delectable combination.
Kim says, “All our recipes have a deep family origin, like our meatball recipe, which was handed down by Mark’s great grandmother, who immigrated to the United States from Italy in 1902. Customers can’t get enough of our Neapolitan pizza, baguettes, meatballs and pasta! We also offer daily specials and dinner a few nights a week to include prime beef, lamb, veal and fresh seafood.” Crust Artisan Bakery serves a unique selection of specialty sodas and beverages, and allows customers to bring in their own wine for a nominal corkage fee.
Kim and Mark Fressell’s strong desire to serve their community and those visiting with the highest quality Italian inspired food and baked goods is clearly evident. I highly recommend this local family eatery and artisan bakery.
Crust Artisan Bakery is located in the Shoppes of South Haven at 4821 Hwy 98 W, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459. Hours: Tuesday: 11am-3pm Wednesday: 11am-3pm, Thursday: 11 am-9 pm Friday: 11am-9 pm
Saturday: 3 pm-9 pm Sunday: 3 pm-9 pm. Closed Monday. For catering, more information, and to confirm hours please call (850) 622-1022.