Bakeries >Turtle Bread Co./Pizza Biga
4762 Chicago Ave S, Minneapolis, MN | Directions 5540744.916373 -93.262620
Neighborhoods: Field, Nokomis
Tuna salad was not fresh! – Ordered a tuna salad and didn't realize it was actually a tuna sandwich, with the bread underneath the tuna. It actually tasted fine but I learned later in the evening that it was not fresh as I got sick to the stomach and vomited. This just reaffirms that tuna salad is never safe unless it is made at home! I also had a choc. chip cookie which was good but I can't overlook the tuna salad incident! Being from out of town made this an especially unpleasant experience.
Turtle Bakery -Clueless – My daughter and I have been "trying out" Turtle Bakery in Linden Hill for years. We keep giving them another chance because of the good reviews they have received in the past.. No more.
At today's lunch, two items were edible - iced tea and coffee. The carrot soup was totally lacking in any seasoning - not even salt or pepper. Someone in the kitchen is not familiar with artichokes: the artichoke soup had the "choke" in it! Mmmmmm - chewy. The grilled cheese and tomato sandwich was burned - not just over-toasted but mostly black. Wouldn't you think they would not serve a totally burned sandwich? We never get around to the dessert (which may be why they are still in business) because the other food is so bad.
That's it for Turtle Bakery for us.
Decent bakery, but lousy restaurant – We've lived in the neighborhood for many years and have visited Turtlebread often, and it was once one of our favorites. However, I'm disappointed to report that in the last two years, the quality of the food and the service (especially at breakfast) have dropped considerably. After avoiding them for a few months, we gave it a try for breakfast again the other day to see if they'd figured some things out (on our last two visits they'd blamed the problem on a "new person in the kitchen") but alas...no.
First, the positives: The bakery items are yummy. Also, many of the soups are consistently pretty good.
Other things are hit and miss. The service, for example. Sometimes the people seem lovely. Other times they seem surly, utterly clueless, or too preoccupied to bother. Dinner items (pizzas) are also hit and miss. The last time our group had pizzas they were uneven. One was ok--not up to Turtlebread's former standard, but fine--but the other was uneven--seriously burned in parts, raw in others.
Breakfast trips there have been particularly problematic. The french toast has been fine on occasion, but the eggs...whoever is doing the cooking should be arrested for his crimes against eggs. They are consistently slimy and either over- or under-cooked, swimming in layers of oil and grease.
On our most recent trip, I ordered the mushroom fritata, my husband had the french toast and a side of eggs. His french toast was edible (though uneven--one piece was burned, one not cooked well at all). His eggs were slimey and very oily. He used a napkin to soak up as much of the grease as he could, and choked most of them down.
My fritata was inedible. The eggs were overcooked and rubbery, and the dish had SOOOOO much butter and oil in it that the taste of the oil completely overpowered the taste of the eggs, white cheddar, mushrooms, seasoning, etc. Two hours later my mouth still felt slippery and had that oily taste in it (and I only took two bites!) I sent the dish back. They offered me to remake it (uhh...why would I want that given how bad my husband's food also looked???) but not to refund me for the horrid dish. So, I got a bakery item instead.
All in all, I really want to like this place--I'd loved it in the past, it's a local business, and it's a nice place to hang out. However, given the relatively high price point for the product/environment, the inconsistent service, and serious problems in the kitchen I'm not likely to be back anytime soon. I get the sense we're not the only ones who've noticed the decline--the place used to be packed at the time we were in there--and it wasn't. Plus, I've been hearing similar comments from others in the neighborhood. I do very much hope to hear in the near future that the management hears and takes seriously some of this kind of feedback and is able to make changes to restore the quality.
Don't bother. – Surly service, and way WAY overpriced. I just picked up two pizzas. Their sausage fennel and white cheese. 28.00. There were 6 pieces (dime sized) of sausage on the sausage pizza and both pizzas were small to medium sized at best. It was Sat. night and the place was empty. Figure it out folks!
Lousy Service! – Turtle Bread has a large staff, but few of them care to descend to the grubby duty of actually waiting on customers. The prices are high, and the food is pretty good, but one always has the impression that the staff is inconvenienced by your presence. Several times I've waited at the counter to buy something, while only a few away workers are having a conversation, not willing to suspend it a moment to make a sale. It is only through the extreme patience of customers that this place stays in business.
Informal atmosphere with a great selection of sweets – The first few times we went to Turtle Bread Company at this Chicago location, it was during dinner time. Although their soups are pretty good and sandwiches are average, they have a nice selection of sweets. The pizza at Pizza Biga is above average. However, it is a little pricey as you may get a personal sized (I believe a 10") basic pizza for about 10 dollars. The crust was crispy and ingredients fresh. Then one day, we finally had time to enjoy weekend brunch there - now THIS is where Turtle Bread Company shines! They have an extensive hot breakfast menu - the salmon and spinach eggs benedict is absolutely divine. Their pies are also superb - the pumpkin pie is the best we've ever had, and the key lime pie is pretty darned good. Tie that into a bustling informal atmosphere (where our kids blend in perfectly!), and you have our favorite brunching spot by far.
Bakery, deli, pizzeria and restaurant: It's all good at this food-savvy complex. – In Short
This spacious building, made up of a bakery and gourmet deli on one side and a pizzeria on the other, is brimming with aromas and plenty of action. On the bakery/deli side, neighborhood moms with kids watch bakers frosting cakes. Foodies pick up lattes and pastries and sit at tables by the street-side windows. Pizza Biga's gold-toned, trattoria-style dining room bustles with activity at dinnertime when the wood oven turns out chicken or crispy-crusted pizzas.
Needs some polish... – I've never really understood why Turtle Bread has such good representation. I have tried the Chicago avenue location many times and continue to be disappointed. For the higher price point, I would expect a higher level of service and atmosphere. At its busiest time on weekend mornings, it is often staffed by underexperienced high-school girls who seem disinterested or unattentive. The restaurant itself if unpolished, with power cords dripping from POS stations, boxes of back stock supplies and taped up menu selections on pieces of paper. A simple black board and a little organization would go a long way. Being a little rough around the edges can be quite charming when it comes to bakeries and coffee shops, but at those prices, I expect a little more.
Very Quick Meals! – I have eaten at Pizza Biga several times and thoroughly enjoyed my visits! It's a bit chaotic and noisy at times, but all the better for my children, ages two and six, to blend in! They serve excellent pizzas, and the oven cakes are fabulous. You must stop by on a busy Saturday or Sunday to watch their oven "master" Harold work...he pumps out the orders at lightning speed. A real treat to watch!
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