Friday, July 17, 2009

Bluebird Bakery takes off on a mission

Laker Weekly
   Ashlie Greene takes a customer's order at The Bluebird Bakery & Grill in Downtown Moneta.


Laker Weekly Ashlie Greene takes a customer's order at The Bluebird Bakery & Grill in Downtown Moneta.

When Lori Greene moved to Moneta from Florida in 2001, she searched high and low for a local, stand-alone bakery, but there was none to be found.

"We have a bakery in Miami on almost every corner and I missed it," she said. "I just kept waiting and waiting for one to open."

After a few years, Greene stopped waiting and decided to act. She and husband Jon opened The Bluebird Bakery & Grill in Downtown Moneta across Virginia 122 from their home in Mayberry Hills on June 30.

Most of the employees are family, including the Greenes' three children and one daughter-in-law.

"It's fun because we laugh so hard," said Ashlie Greene. "My oldest brother [Ryan] is the funniest."

The family and friends arrive at the restaurant as early at 4 a.m. to start making pastries, including doughnuts, Danish, scones and muffins.

"The pastries are flying off the shelf," said Lori Greene.

Most of the baked goods are made in house, unless the pastry chefs find that someone else can make something better.

"The stuff that we can't beat, we carry the higher quality items for the community," said Greene.

That includes Boar's Head bagels from Just Bagels in the Bronx, cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory and bread from On the Rise in downtown Roanoke.

The bakery also includes coffees, teas and sweets such as cookies, brownies and chocolate-covered strawberries. Rochelle Petti, a five-star pastry chef, makes cakes for weddings, birthdays or other special occasions.

On the grill side, which is open for lunch and dinner, Bluebird offers a variety of burgers, sandwiches, platters, soups and salads. But the menu is still a work in progress, said Greene.

"We're doing specials every day to see what's going and what the community likes," she said. "The meatloaf is really big."

The grill area also includes a full bar and televisions with Direct TV so families can congregate to watch sporting events.

But Greene said Bluebird is about more than food, it's a mission.

"We're giving 10 percent of whatever this bakery makes back to the church," she said.

Greene and her family attend EastLake Community Church in Moneta. Some of the staff wear aprons bearing the verse John 6:48, "I am the bread of life." Other verses adorn the walls.

"We're really religious, the whole family," said Ashlie Greene. "God is a huge part of our lives and we know he's a huge part of what made all this possible."

The Bluebird Bakery & Grill is located in Downtown Moneta at 1123 Celebration Ave., Suites 101 and 102 in Moneta. 597-8405. www.bluebirdbakeryandgrill.net

LAURIE EDWARDS | Laker Weekly 721.4675 (ext. 406)