June 14, 2022
Made In Bristol: The Blackbird Bakery Story
Carla Perkins’ journey from teacher to baker started with two southern staples: biscuits and pie.
Using an article from Southern Living, she taught herself how to make the dough. Once she mastered those classics, Perkins found herself ready to dive into making more complicated doughs and recipes.
After years of experimenting on the side for fun and giving away all of her sweet treats, Perkins’ husband and friends finally convinced her to pursue her culinary passions full-time. “After 10 years of teaching, I left it and blindly went into the baking business,” she said. In 2008, she opened Blackbird Bakery, one of the early eateries that helped transform Downtown Bristol into the ultimate foodie destination.
During the time it’s been open, Blackbird Bakery has provided a gathering spot and good food to all who walk through its doors with welcoming smiles, people who remember your name, and a variety of community events, including live music and art showcases. Now with two locations—a prime spot in Downtown Bristol and a drive-thru near Interstate 81—it is easy to linger at the cozy bakery or grab a treat for the road.
But the best part about this full-service bakery is its extensive menu, serving European delicacies while staying true to its southern roots. With so many options to choose from, this quickly becomes a spot visitors, and locals alike return to again and again. Where else can you get cheesecake, pies, fresh bread, banana pudding, creme brulee, and baklava all in one place?
There is very little that these bakers don’t make from scratch, including doughnuts made fresh every 12 hours. “I am proud of the fact that all of us who work at Blackbird who bake and make things are all novice bakers,” Perkins said.
One of the shop’s best-sellers, the brownie tower, was dreamed up by an employee who sandwiched two layers of brownie with layers of homemade chocolate whipped cream, strawberries, and ganache. You’ll probably want to order two of those…
Perkins considers herself part of the proud tradition of products made and sold in Bristol. “We actually have people who still make things, craft things, right here with their own hands for you to purchase,” she said. This is where you’ll find businesses celebrating more than a century in Bristol neighbors with a new hotel or restaurant bringing new faces into the area.
Ultimately, it’s a community-wide effort that has helped turn Blackbird into such a smashing success, with every day regulars and visitors from all corners of the country supporting the bakery. “I don’t know what I’d do without them,” Perkins said. “I’m just so thankful that we’re still here and able to do what we do.”
Whether it’s a pastry to start the morning off right or a decadent dessert to save for later, Blackbird Bakery really does have it all.