First, Kelly Ball wowed us with baked goods at farmers markets, then we heard she would open up her own brick-and-mortar.
Ball had just gotten the dining room of Leila Bakery and Cafe running, then the pandemic swept over Dallas.
“I think, as a bakery, we’ve been fortunate we haven’t faced some of the troubles of the fine dining institutions. With our farmers market experience, we were largely to-go anyway, so transitioning the shop to a to-go format to meet the needs of the pandemic has not been too much of a challenge,” Ball says. “I was excited to have a dining room with our store, so it did mean closing the cafe just a month after we opened.”
Sweets fill that case. Try a slice of pie to go, but don’t skip out on the savory klobasnek (which they label as “kolache” on their chalkboard menu).
Philip Kingston, ex-Dallas City Council member and Observer contributor strongly suggests the quiche: That is, any kind of quiche they have. A slice ($7) is why I’ll return soon, either for the Florentine (spinach and onions) or the Lorraine (bacon and Swiss). Though since I love goat cheese, I’ll probably opt for that cheese and mushroom in a quiche.
More recommendations: Melissa Kingston says the doughnuts (Saturday only) are "amazing," as are the lemon and apple scones, and the cinnamon twist. Even restaurateur Mark Wootton says he used to get pies for Garden Cafe, especially the apple crumble.
That's enough for a reason to visit multiple times, but there’s more to come as the temperature gets cooler.
“Fall is always exciting for bakers,” Ball says. “We brought back pecan pie and apple pie. We’re doing a roasted pear kouign-amann.”
(If you need more on that pastry, Observer writer Lauren Drewes Daniels is somewhat obsessed with this treat, and you can read her assessment here. And here. And here. And here.)
With this weather, though, you might as well hit a Dallas park, and Leila is close enough to White Rock Lake that you can settle into the grass before your coffee even thinks about getting cold. Plus, that coffee's made with beans from Novel Coffee Roasters, so you're getting local coffee that's wonderfully balanced.
“It’s a challenging time for our country right now. I’m trying to help people get registered to vote in an easy way,” Ball says.
Even if you’re registered, or you visit after Monday, stopping by can satisfy your hunger and keep another local spot afloat.
“We’re grateful,” Ball says. “This has been our first year opening, and it’s been a challenging one. We’re grateful for all the customers.”
Leila Bakery and Cafe, 6041 Oram St. (East Dallas). 972-807-6297. Open for takeout 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.