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Jun 26, 2024

These Odd Birds Can Bake

Jesse Blanco

Photography By

M.Kat
The blueberry muffins are maybe their most popular and they are simply perfect.

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I am always amused by the island crowd that refuses to leave said island unless it’s absolutely necessary. Maintenance on your car? Maybe a quick run to Sam’s or similar. 

I know some of you aren’t afraid to cross that bridge to grab something to eat, and you are to be applauded. Those of you who’d rather starve than go over the bridge, well, I’m here for your needs as well. Even if I am rolling my eyes at you.

I believe you can never have too many bakeries, particularly on an island the size of Hilton Head. I’ve made no secret over the years of the fact that I am a huge fan of Hilton Head Social Bakery – I think it is the island’s best bakery. I love what Sprout Mama Kim and her family are doing on the south end, and I have enjoyed some of the bites at French Bakery in Shelter Cove, as well as at Harbour Town Bakery and Cafe in Sea Pines. I don’t usually promote chains, but the bread program at Publix is an excellent value. I’m a big fan of all of it. 

Sweets though? It’s generally slim pickin’s out there, but now you have one more spot to eat it and like it. Trust me, you will.

Odd Bird Bakes is a small grab-and-go bakery production kitchen in the Village at Wexford.  They opened just a few months ago on the island but have been growing their following from their Bridge Center location for almost four years.

“That was an interesting time,” co-owner and baker Lesli Shelly told me a few weeks back.

She and her business partner, Lynn Vinall, friends for nearly two decades, had decided to “go for it” and open a cafe. Well, then 2020 happened, but they were already in the build-out phase. They had to open. They did so in September 2020. 

The goods were great. Of that there was no question, but the location was a challenge, and people just weren’t out and about as much as normal back then. We all remember that.

Still, there was growth. But it was slow. Almost every time I’d see the ladies somewhere, I’d ask about their traction. “We are doing better, but it’s sooo slow,” I was told more than once.

Still, I knew that if enough people made the effort to find them, they’d be just fine. Well, I guess you can say it’s going well, especially considering they’ve opened a second location with a hopeful eye on developing a wholesale side of the operation.

Of course, I’ve chosen to invest this much time in sharing their story because their baked goods are absolutely fantastic. I’ve been noshing on goodies from Odd Birds for a few years now and there is nothing I have eaten that I didn’t love – even the roasted white chocolate hazelnut scones Lesli had during my recent visit. I don’t at all refer to myself as a “scone guy” – I could take ’em or leave ’em, don’t care. But these were delicious. While I was there, she was making apricot and pistachio scones for the next day.

You get the picture: This is real deal, handmade, craftswomanship (my word) every single day.  And it’s fantastic.

The chocolate chip cookies are among the best I’ve ever had. The blueberry muffins are maybe their most popular and they are simply perfect.

Have I gushed enough? Because I could go on all day here, as long as I have a double espresso with a splash of milk – which they can make for you too.

One thing to know about the Wexford location if you’d been to their cafe is that there are no sandwiches or seating in this location. This is simply grab-and-go sweets and coffee. Lesli said she’ll be getting into some bread soon. As soon as she finds some spare time.

Go see these ladies at the Village of Wexford. You hesitant islanders now have no excuse. There are no bridges involved.  

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