Baker's Crust Artisan Kitchen is what you might call a Virginia staple. With locations in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Richmond, and Williamsburg all open from breakfast until dessert, it really is a one-stop shop for all things delicious. Even with such impressive growth over two decades, Baker's Crust has still retained its integrity and history as a European-style artisan bakery by keeping everything including the breads, pastries, and desserts, made from scratch.
We went back to the start of it all, at Baker's Crust's Hilltop location in Virginia Beach to meet with Anna Schulte, the Assistant Manager and beverage developer behind Baker's Crust's newest expansion into the craft cocktail scene.
Tell us about yourself…
I'm the Assistant Manager and Mixologist of Baker’s Crust Hilltop, our flagship location. I've been bartending for 13 years now. I first got behind the bar while living in Florida at the age of 18, yes 18... My General Manager at the time took a chance on a young girl from Wyoming and promoted me from server to bartender, it was there that I learned traditional bartending skills.
It wasn’t until about 22 that I really became involved and began to build a passion for mixology. I have been working at Baker’s Crust for 2 ½ years, and when hired I was given the opportunity to become the beer, wine and liquor developer for all six of our locations. So when my passion and hobby really turned into a full time job, it was a dream come true. I love the craft cocktail world, I find it exciting and there is always a challenge. The best part is it has exploded and it isn’t slowing down! I want to bring all of the new and impressive things happening into Baker's Crust in an accessible and intentional way.
What do you do when you’re not bartending? Any hobbies/side jobs/secret identities?
I enjoy spending my free time with my husband, friends, and my three dogs. I love cooking, DIY projects, the beach and entertaining people in our home. But somedays I really enjoy spending time on my deck just relaxing listening to music and playing with the dogs.
What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
I am from Wyoming and I played ice hockey throughout my high school and college career. Can't do much of that in Virginia Beach!
What’s your favorite thing to drink? Favorite classic cocktail? Favorite thing to drink when no one’s looking?
It depends on my mood but when I can’t decide, a Moscow Mule of any kind is my go-to. Favorite classic cocktail is an Old Fashioned, but when making them myself I love adding modern twists, like playing around with different styles of bitters, infused simple syrups, and variations of oranges. Each combination always gives a unique elevation to the drink!
Favorite thing to drink when no one is looking... I really have no shame in my cocktail game. It might be an ice cold PBR, bourbon on the rocks, or a big glass of red wine, just depending on how long the day has been.
Tell us about your bar…
Our bar is very welcoming, fun and relaxing; our bartenders are more than just “drink slingers”. You’ll always have good conversation, a lot of laughs and pure entertainment with them! Over the past five years our brand has evolved, we are an artisan kitchen and we pride ourselves on our authenticity and integrity.
What’s the neighborhood like?
Hilltop has a great local feel to it. The beach is right around the corner, everything you need is nestled in the area, and there are a lot of great local restaurants, shops, and boutiques.
What makes your bar unique?
There is a cocktail for anytime of the day! We like to refer to them as brunchtails, daytails, and cocktails. We've got some fantastic drinks lined up for our fall menu, like our new daytail, the Spiced Honey Paloma featuring Belle Isle Grapefruit, and an amazing Smoked Rosemary Manhattan for the evening.
What’s your favorite part about working there?
I am proud of what Baker’s Crust offers, I love the fact that I am working for a local company and that my passion of craft cocktails is now a huge role in my career! I also love that we have a lot fun, even though it sometimes can get crazy there is always smiles and laughter, without my staff we would not be Baker’s Crust Artisan Kitchen!
What’s a good night look like for you? What are people ordering?
A good night for me is when we are busy, when I walk through the restaurant and bar area I love seeing people enjoying Baker’s Crust, we want every guest to have a great time. That is why we are here, to give them an experience that leaves a great impression! But I really love seeing cocktails on the tables, of course!
What’s your favorite menu item / cocktail pairing?
My favorite menu item is defiantly the Quattro Formaggi. We use crushed tomato sauce, mozzarella, fontina, pecorino, gorgonzola and our house made oven-roasted tomatoes. This pizza is exploding with rich and complex flavors from the cheeses, nice acidity from the crushed tomato sauce and subtle acidity with a touch of sweetness from the oven roasted tomatoes. My favorite cocktail pairing with this pizza is our Torched Cherry Sangria. The Torched Cherry Sangria offers a subtle dryness from the merlot and pomegranate juice, a bright and rich cherry flavor from the Bacardi Torched cherry and a very clean ginger flavor from the Domaine De Canton.
Can you share a Belle Isle creation with us? What inspired it?
I fell in love with Belle Isle products from the first time I tried them. I loved how clean of a product it was. I knew from that moment that it would soon be something I was obsessed with. I am a huge bourbon drinker and I love the Belle Isle Honey Habanero, so naturally I needed them to meet one another! Then the brainstorming began.
- 1 ½ oz. Belle Isle Honey Habanero
- 1 oz. Bulleit Rye
- 2 oz. Cranberry Juice
- ¼ oz. Lime Juice (not sweetened)
- Sugar and Cayenne Blend for Rim (1 cup sugar + 1 tsp cayenne pepper)
In a Boston shaker combine all ingredients, fill completely with ice. Shake cocktail for 10-15 seconds, or until ice begins to form on the outside of the shaker. Using sweetened lime juice, rim the glass with sugar/cayenne mix. Strain cocktail into the martini glass, garnish with an orange wheel.
Recipe by Anna Schulte
And since we're all about cocktails for any time of the day, I've got another one! This one is the perfect addition to your weekend brunch.
- 1 ½ Ounces Belle Isle Honey Habanero
- 3 Ounces Ashburn Sassy Mary Bloody Mix
- 1 piece of Applewood Bacon
- 4 Pepperoni Slices
- 1 Green Olive
- 1 Pickle Spear
- 1 Cucumber Slice
- Everything Rim (1 tbs of all of the following: caraway seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried minced garlic, and ½ tbs of kosher salt)
- Sweetened Lime Juice
Using sweetened lime juice and everything rim, rim the glass. Fill glass completely with ice, add Belle Isle Honey Habanero and Sassy Mary. On a pick, add olive, bacon, pepperoni, and cucumber. Set the garnish across the top, add the pickle spear behind the everything pick.
Recipe by Anna Schulte
Photos by Joey Wharton