Red or Green?
Making Grandma Proud
At Millie's Bake House in Silver City, from pies to pizzas,
the food is oven-fresh and innovative.
You'll find pies and cakes and cookies at Millie's Bake House in Silver City. And you'll find soups and salads and sandwiches, too, just as the big sign outside the cute, almost gingerbread-style house on Yankie Street promises.
Millie’s Bake House owner Tina Klassen shows off a Mozzarella-Basil Pannini, ready to go out to the table.
(Photo by Peggy Platonos)
What you won't find is Millie — except in spirit.
"Millie is my grandmother's name," explains Bake House owner Tina Klassen. "I named the business to honor her. She didn't own a restaurant or anything, but man, could she cook! And she gave me the love of cooking."
Perhaps it was already in Tina's genes, anyway. "My grandmother's sister was a riverboat cook on the Ohio River. Her food was so good, the riverboat companies used to fight over her," Tina says, adding with a laugh, "And she played a mean hand of poker, too."
Appropriately, Tina uses quite a few of her grandmother's recipes at Millie's Bake House. "I tweak a lot of the recipes, but the originals were hers."
Tina opened the Bake House in May of this year. "I hadn't thought of doing anything like this," she says. "I was actually planning to go to Flagstaff and start a Nutrition Club. But I was helping Jan Rider at the Lion's Den prepare for Chocolate Fantasia, and she looked at me at one point and said, 'Look, you've been baking for 12 hours straight and you're still smiling. This is what you should be doing, not going off to Flagstaff.' And then she told me about this building."
The building is located across the street from the Lion's Den coffeehouse and was at that time occupied by the Bad Kitty Bakery, which was going out of business. Tina rented the building in March, spent two months renovating and re-equipping it, and opened on May 4.
"We do all the cakes, pies and cookies ourselves, and I try to make things you don't find anywhere else," she says. "I don't want to do the same things that other people are doing. I want to do something different, find my own special niche."
So you don't find apple or cherry pies at Millie's Bake House. You find Buttermilk pies and Peanut Butter pies and Chocolate Cheese Pie. You find sinfully decadent filled cupcakes like Death by Chocolate and Tres Leches. And then there are the Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting.
You find the rich and beautifully layered Nanaimo Bars that used to be served in British Columbia on the ferry crossings. She'll be tweaking that basic recipe, too, in the near future, adding a "grasshopper" filling and a coconut filling as options, besides the original vanilla custard filling.
And, of course, you'll find cookies at Millie's Bake House — very bi-i-i-g cookies. But even here, there are differences besides size. The Peanut Butter cookies, for instance, are flourless.
As mentioned earlier, Millie's Bake House offers much more than baked goods. The soups are hearty, tasty and homemade, with portions that are more than generous and prices that are more than reasonable — $3.25 for a "cup" that would qualify as a bowl in many places, and $4.50 for a "bowl" that looks like a cup the Mad Hatter might swim in.
The salads are creative, with special touches like carrots, avocados and snow peas routinely added to Garden Salads, for instance, and a Cobb Salad that deserves mention, along with several unusual dressings like Cilantro-Lime and Ginger-Sesame that are available in addition to the old standbys. The Cobb Salad (definitely a meal in itself) costs $7.50; both the Garden Salad and the Caesar Salad cost $4 for a small one and $7.50 for a large, with the option for both salads of adding chicken for an additional $1.50.
Cold sandwiches, including an "Old-fashioned Turkey or Ham" (served with a not-so-old-fashioned ranch mayonnaise and a generous helping of avocado), a Southwest Chipotle Turkey or Roast Beef (I've tried the Chipotle Turkey and like it a lot), a Western Roast Beef (served with mayo and horseradish sauce) and a Veggie Delight sandwich, all cost $6.95, as do the two hot sandwiches on the menu: the Hot Ham & Cheese and the Philly Melt. Millie's Chicken Salad, Curried Egg Salad or Tuna Salad sandwiches on pita or a croissant each cost $5.95. And there are two panini sandwich options for $5.95 — Mozzarella-Basil and Turkey with Green Chile.
The atmosphere is relaxed and informal, with orders taken at the counter. There is seating in two separate rooms indoors, plus a couple of tables on the porch that are very pleasant for outdoor dining during warm weather.
Tina is also willing to take special orders for whole pies and cakes, and to cater small events, with several days' notice.
Millie's Bake House is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and it's becoming a family affair, now that Tina's daughter Kim has joined her on a regular basis.
Also, in a recent expansion, Tina's son-in-law, Forrest Psarakis, is now taking over on Thursdays through Mondays at 5 p.m., and offering custom-made pizzas to 10 p.m. — "or until all the pizza dough is gone, whichever comes first," Tina says. "It's basically a separate operation, and we call it Millie's at Night."
Forrest offers three types of crust: thin, hand-tossed and deep-dish. He sells whole 14-inch pizzas, not slices, so bring family, friends or a really big appetite. Prices for thin-crust pizzas range from $13 to $18, for hand-tossed pizzas from $14 to $19, and for deep-dish pizzas from $18 to $21. The menu lists eight Combination Pizza options, including a Hawaii 5-0 pizza with ham and pineapple and a Popeye pizza with Italian sausage, spinach, garlic, black olives and mushrooms. Or you can build your own pizza, selecting from a long list of toppings.
Besides whole pizzas, the Millie's at Night menu has several other choices: a Meatball Sub for $8, Garlic Bread with Cheese for $4, Garlic Bread with Spinach and Tomatoes (topped with mozzarella and parmesan cheese) for $6 and Garlic Knots (served with marinara sauce) for $3. Forrest also provides a selection of three salads: Caesar Salad, Greek Salad, and Garden Salad, the latter tweaked with a bit of Mediterranean flair.
Millie's Bake House is located at 215 W. Yankie St. in Silver City, with lots of parking spaces nearby. For more information or to place special orders, call Tina at (575) 597-BAKE (-2253).
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