First Bite

First Bite: By the Bay Bistro

By the Bay Bistro is a welcome new spot in Osprey.

Photography by Judi Gallagher January 10, 2018

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By the Bay Bistro

Today I want to introduce you to a  hidden gem in Osprey, just north of the Super Walmart, in a shopping center that's finally beginning to fill up with restaurants, boutiques and accessory stores.

One of my favorite little Italian restaurants, Café Bologna, is nestled in this plaza, but I've never noticed the little 1960s VW Van with a coffee logo signaling By the Bay Bistro, a little spot serving excellent brewed coffees, croissants, Danish pastries and delightful sandwiches. 

By the Bay Bistro is a passion for  its owners, Susan and Jeorge Pohlmann, who met in Germany. Thanks to Susan’s dream of a sunnier climate and little café to bake and share German and European treats in, By the Bay Bistro was born.

The space is warm and cozy, partly because of the leftover interior design from a previous French wares store and partly because the owners designed menus that hang on long rolls of paper, a much easier way to read a menu than something like a chalkboard.

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Creamy, rich hot chocolate.

New York-style bagels come from a local vendor, and pastries and chocolate flown in from Belgium, Germany and several other European cities. Hot chocolate is truly for chocolate lovers (Dalila Reid is the bistro's star barista and hot chocolate aficionado; she developed her skills at a small cafe on the island of Kauai, Hawaii); and the almond croissants filled with marzipan are not to be missed, either.

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However, the sandwiches and German pretzels that stole my heart at first bite. The Monaco—sliced turkey, brie, dried cranberries and arugula on fresh-baked ciabatta bread—was my favorite. The Zurich, a ham and Swiss on a "bretzel" (bread and pretzel) stick with honey mustard is right up there, too, along with the Paris—creamy brie with apricot spread and arugula on baguette. One local, who makes almost daily stops, shared the bagels and lox are a must, too. There are three salad choices; I would also like to see housemade dressings, since the owners certainly have a good sense of taste.

And people who have been to Germany will know the Berlin currywurst, a German-style bratwurst topped with tomato curry sauce and served with hearty bread to tear and dip into. It's traditionally a walking dish, I am told—it's easy to stroll and dip.

There are couches for people wanting a true coffee shop experience and bringing your laptop for a few hours of work is totally acceptable, as is simply settling in, sipping a dirty chai and reading The New York Times.

Since owner Susan let the cat out of the bag that she makes an awesome fruit pie, I have put her to the task. Anyone that reads my columns knows that a flaky two-crust pie with fresh fruit filling has me at "hello." So, Susan, keep up the delicious work and start baking those midwestern pies!

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