Mesa's Dori’s Bakery keeps rolling through difficult economy - East Valley Tribune: Mesa

Mesa's Dori’s Bakery keeps rolling through difficult economy

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Posted: Friday, August 16, 2013 7:00 pm | Updated: 4:37 pm, Wed Dec 3, 2014.

For nearly three years, Dori’s Bakery and Cafe has solidified its customer base with an eclectic menu for breakfast, lunch or dinner, along with a wholesale service to restaurants and a delivery service.

Dori Purdy, a Wisconsin-born woman in her 40s who moved to Arizona nine years ago, said people can smell the waft of baked goods like the picturesque hot pie on a window sill. The bakery opened in September 2010 during the recession.

In the beginning, business was slow while the economy struggled to figure itself out.

Lately, however, “It’s been good. Business is really good now,” Purdy said. “People finally know we’re here. We’re actually a spot on the map.”

Dori’s Bakery is located at 1305 W. Guadalupe Rd., Suite E3 on the southwest corner of Guadalupe and Alma School Road near Safeway in Mesa.

Most of her customers take out their orders because of the small seating space, but Dori’s Bakery and Cafe also makes deliveries and offers wholesale food to restaurants in the East Valley such as The Downtown Chandler (DC) Steak House — the bakery’s biggest client — along with Crabby Don’s Bar and Grill in Gilbert.

The bakery’s delivery service, which started in 2012, usually covers a three-mile radius, but Purdy said her team goes beyond that often. Many of the deliveries have been for daycare centers, but Dori’s also delivered to Arizona State University’s Tempe campus for a large luncheon. The delivery charge is about $15, and there is a $30 minimum on food deliveries.

Her son, Ted Purdy, and her husband, Chris Hendricks, help operate the bakery and restaurant with seating for about 12 customers at a time. Purdy believes mom-and-pop establishments like hers are making a comeback in the East Valley because residents are longing for quality, local business.

Her mother, Anna Kempka, is also a co-owner at the bakery and cafe. She and Dori are depicted in a mural on the cafe’s pink and black walls.

Some customers have commented on how the food reminds them of an aunt’s or a grandmother’s home cooking — a compliment filled with Purdy’s own great memories.

She admits to having no technical culinary training, nor has she received formal instruction on how to cook or bake. Instead, she learned from more than 30 years of experience at various restaurants and bakeries.

What attracts customers to the restaurant, Purdy said, is the homestyle food made from scratch and the welcoming customer service

“If they come, they always come back ... every time,” she said.

She recommends new customers try the chicken salad, more than 200 pounds of which were sold during the Super Bowl. The most purchased item on the menu is a dinner roll larger than a fist. The bakery has sold thousands of these fist-sized rolls, with most sold during the winter holidays.

“It’s a beautiful, old school yeast-raised roll,” she said.

She also sells salsa that she says won an award at a Queen Creek salsa competition in 2008.

Purdy hopes one day her kids will manage the bakery. She said she might open satellite locations in the Valley or possibly in her home state of Wisconsin.

“I’m looking forward to running it whenever she wants to hand it down, but that’s not going to be for awhile,” Ted Purdy said.

• Corey, a junior studying journalism at Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is an intern for the East Valley Tribune.

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