New bakery opens on Commerce Street

Published 9:25 pm Saturday, May 17, 2008

Sixteen-hour days in the restaurant business are not unusual but Monday was not a typical day in the biz for Ann Kharasin. It was her birthday and the opening day for her newest venture – Annie’s Bakery and Café.

Already the owner of Planet Thailand, Kharasin wanted once again to bring something new to the Natchez area.

“When I told people I wanted to open a Thai restaurant in Natchez no one thought it would work. A lot of people didn’t know what Thai food was but after seven years we’ve had a lot of success there,” she said. “Now, with the bakery, I want to offer something that other Natchez restaurants don’t offer.”

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At Annie’s Bakery and Café, patrons can get home-cooked breakfast that is just a little out of the norm and a lunch that is easy for the busy, on-the-go crowd. The menu includes pancakes and waffles in several varieties but also features fresh crepes with many different fillings. For lunch, sandwiches, salads and soups are the staples.

“A lot of the other restaurants offer grits and hash browns for breakfast but I wanted to do something a little different, especially with the crepes. I don’t think anyone else offers crepes.”

Outside of the crepes and grab-and-go lunches, Annie’s offers baked goods like cookies, pies and cheesecakes and fruit tarts. Cookies are the biggest seller and one is especially close to Kharasin’s heart. The tri-cookie recipe is her personal recipe and features three round cookies baked together in a triangle shape. The center of each cookie is filled with a different flavor of jam.

Once the idea of opening the bakery was verbalized the actual process of opening was a relatively short one taking only three months to arrive at opening day. The quick turn around can be credited to having strong family ties in the restaurant business and practically growing up a restaurant.

“The restaurant business is in my blood. My family has always had restaurants,” Kharasin

said. “When I was growing up I would go to the restaurant after school. It was like a second home. I probably spent more time in the restaurant than at home.”

It was that same family that encouraged Kharasin to pursue her other interest and open the bakery.

“They have always been very encouraging when I say I want to do something so when I mentioned that I might like to open a bakery they were really supportive,” Kharasin said. “They all thought thisbuilding would be great since it is basically next door to Planet Thailand.”

But convenience isn’t the only good thing about the Commerce Street location. The building was

also the original location for Planet Thailand. Opening Annie’s Bakery and Café in the location was a

homecoming of sorts for Kharasin.

“I feel like I’m back home when I’m in this building. I still remember when we put this carpet in.”

But the location is also good for the community Kharasin said noting that when she opened her first restaurant on Commerce she was basically the only business on the street. Now several other shops have opened in the area.

“Commerce is alive again.”

The restaurant has been well received by the community in its first week of business.

“So-far, so-good,” Kharasin said. “I’ve had mostly compliments and with just a few complaints.” But Kharasin knows that is just part of business. “You can’t make everyone happy but we do our best.”

Annie’s Bakery is located on South Commerce and is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.