NOTE: This restaurant location has closed. The restaurant has moved to Inman, SC, and a Mexican restaurant has opened in this location.
It started with a box of cookies…
A new bakery opened just down the road in Lyman. Its signs touting “gourmet cuisine” have been taunting me for the past couple of months. I’ve even stopped by twice, only to be told that they were not yet ready to serve lunch, but soon… The smells of fresh-baked goods made it hard to walk out the door unsatisfied.
Then this morning one of my tech team brought a selection of cookies from Nations Bakery and told me that they were now open for lunch. The cookies were excellent, and I knew I had to give this place a try.
Once upon a time this used to be a popular ice cream shop. Many years later it found new life as Don Pedro’s, a Mexican restaurant with fairly good food, but a scary interior. It didn’t fare so well, and the building has sat empty for the past couple of years.
As previously mentioned, work began remodeling the empty restaurant a couple of months ago. The bakery opened first, and the restaurant opened just after Christmas.
First and foremost this is a bakery. Upon entering one encounters a counter full of pastries and other baked goods. When they’re actually cooking, the smells can be tempting and devastating. This area has been nicely remodeled with wood paneling. The owners themselves were there to greet me, and were very warm and welcoming.
The dining area seems like more of an afterthought. There are a a couple of simple booths, but most of it is utilitarian white with several cooling cabinets. It looks like they have more work to do.
There were two other women having lunch when I arrived, and several people stopped by to get to-go orders.
There is none. Lunch options are at the whim of the chef, and are listed on a white board at the front counter, where one orders. There are usually several sandwich options, such as a BLT, empanadas, and a Mexican pork sandwich. The special of the day was a fish sandwich. These range in price from $4 to $9.
In addition to lunch, there are breakfast items available, including egg biscuits and french toast and, of course, a wonderful selection of pastries and other baked goods that would make a great breakfast.
I ordered the Mexican pork sandwich, which was the most expensive option on the menu at $8.99. The sandwich was HUGE. It came with on a home made roll, and had roast pork, sliced avocado, sliced jalapenos (lengthwise), refried black beans, onions, and tomato.
The sandwich was good, but could have been so much better with just a tiny bit of engineering. On my first bite a got a huge chunk of avocado, and my first thought was that it was a rather bland sandwich. The second bite hit a jalapeno and the heat quickly changed that opinion.
The problem was that it was like eating two sandwiches, and you didn’t know what was coming next – cool or hot. This may appeal to some, but I prefer the flavors to be evenly distributed so that the cool and hot balance each other. All they had to do was slice the jalapeno across the pepper instead of lengthwise, and spread those out over the sandwich.
The sandwich roll was the star, though. It’s obvious that the place’s specialty is its baked goods. It would have been hard to make a bad sandwich with such a good starting point.
I paid my bill and was just about to leave when the owner handed me a to-go box with a slice of flan “for later.” He’s willing to give away some samples to generate business, and that’s not a bad thing. The flan was fantastic, and made a nice mid-afternoon snack, even though I was already stuffed from a huge pork sandwich.
The owner is obviously a very talented baker, and his goods reflect that talent. Lunch is more for the adventurous, as the menu items change, and are unlike any of the standard fast food or meat-n-three fare nearby. And that can be a good thing. It’s great to have another option for lunch nearby, and I’ll definitely pay them another visit.
6 thoughts on “Nation’s Bakery”
If you haven’t paid this “little slice of Heaven” a visit, you are surely missing out!
My first visit was later in the evening, and the owner was there baking. He drives quite a distance from his day job as a pastry chef, to come and bake at night there. The smell when I walked in was enough to lure me back for good, but when I tried the ‘just out of the oven’ samples, I knew my New Years resolution was in TROUBLE!! I have taken my children back since, and we have tried just about everything, and I must say, we haven’t found one thing that was not a gift to the palette. There have even been things that I never cared for before that I loved from there. Their pastries are huge, and well worth the money. Their pies are as big as most cakes, and the cakes even bigger. Items such as the guava cream cheese turnover, teramisu, banana cream pie, and cheese cakes are mouth watering, but the one item that has even my husband returning is the huge apple delight, presented on the counter. It is the perfect “man desert” for lack of a better term. It is cinnamen, brown sugary goodness, that is filled with what tastes like fresh apples, lots and lots of fresh apples!They even have homemade sugared donuts with cream, that my kids gave a big thumbs up to, and even said they never thought they would find any donut that they preferred over the’hot now’ ones. Each time that we have gone in, we have received free samples, not your grocery store samples, but entire deserts. The service is always good and the people that work there are among some of the nicest you would ever meet. There is true talent at work in the kitchen.
The menu items are equally as good, with American sandwiches having a twist added here and there to make it their own, and the breads for the sandwiches are to die for! One could never go into this place and one, come out hungry, two- not want to return.
If you have missed this jewel, do yourself a favor and GO! The only thing that I could ever see as a problem here would be that it is overlooked due to its location, and that people just don’t see that area, but it is certainly worth the effort to get to it. Hopefully this will be one of our treasures for a long long time to come.
Do yourself a favor the next time you need a desert for a get together, or want to take something to the office- go by Nations Bakery!
You gotta go there! Terrific! Lunch and pastries!
Nations Bakery is the best! co-oped in Duncan at AFL Telecommunications and stumbled upon this place when looking for a new place to eat. I would say that I have been there about 30 times in the past 7 months. I have tried everything on the menu and it’s all delicious. I think the best are the Empanadas and the Roast Pork Sandwich. They have a Calabash Calzone that isn’t on the menu and they don’t always have it. But when they do, it is great! The homemade fires are awesome, and come with every sandwich. But can be substituted for many other items. Each sandwich always comes with some fruit (strawberry, cantaloupe, watermelon, etc.) and it’s always delicious! At first they I couldn’t remember the name of the restaurant, and they have an Ecuadorian burger (which is awesome) so I just referred to it as Ecuador. And now that’s what everyone at my work refers to it as. So go visit Ecuador (AKA Nation’s Bakery) it is AWESOME!
I’m personally & secretly calling Nation’s Bakery
“DREAM BAKERY” because it IS like a dream come true for me!
Ever since my husband and I moved to Greenville we were missing good bakeries / cafes, but we finally found a great one in Lyman!
If we had this bakery in Greenville, we would probably go almost everyday because even if you go everyday you can always find something different to try. AND everything is delicious.
The owner and all the workers there are very friendly and we can tell that they are simply good people. They care about their goods and customers. It’s precious to have a store/restaurant with such warm and welcoming atmosphere nowadays.
Their egg sandwich on croissant w/ cheese, lettuce & tomato is heavenly yummy (we don’t eat meat, so we can’t comment on many other great looking sandwiches with meats).
There are too many sweets I love there, and everything is very reasonable, too.
It’s also a great place for beautifully decorated cakes and sweets/pastries to offer at your home parties!!
Just ate at this restaurant for the first time……. and it will be my last. Did not enjoy the sandwich I ate. The pork tasted old. Purchased a dessert and it tasted stale also. Spent 13.00 and felt like everything was overpriced. As I ate my sandwich I watched a tiny roach crawl around the floor. It never came close to my table so I didnt get up and step on it.