Rise Authentic Baking Co. is my definition of happy


Simply put, I was in my happy place this weekend.

Far, far down Fulton St. in downtown GR, I sat in the corner of the cafe and contently watched the bustle of life. To be in a room where contentment and joy overflow from every heart in the room, smiles alighting to match the happy blue skies and fulfilled promises of spring in nature, is my definition of joy. And for me, Rise Authentic Baking Co. embodied just that.

Immediately, I was enveloped in a sweet swell of unexpected but welcome joy as I first entered Rise. The whisper of spring was ever-present, seeping out of every crack and corner, charging the air with a lightness of spirit and brightness of life.

From what I could ascertain, Rise is the type of place that invites in all different kinds of people from all different walks of life, all seemingly being the friendliest of people too. Rather than being devoid of movement and life, the cafe’s rush of people bounced up and down, constantly adding diversity to the atmosphere, intensifying the cafe’s warming allure. Sometimes words aren’t enough to paint the vivid picture of emotions, but in this case, the most telling and obvious signs of Rise’s heartwarming vibe beyond their great opportunities for people-watching are their foods and drinks.

The cafe, shared between Squibb Coffee Bar and Rise Baking Co., offers the best of the best in terms of baked goods and classic cafe drinks, from donuts and muffins to lattes and teas. What actually surprised me most was that while I wasn’t the biggest fan of Squibb as its own entity, I felt completely at home amidst the shared space of Squibb and Rise. Maybe it was the minimalism of Squibb’s vibe combined with the liveliness of the colorful array of donuts and hum of baking in the background that caught my attention, but regardless, I felt a certain warmth of familiarity and comfortability that usually wouldn’t accompany me into a place that I’d never been to before.

The donuts instantly beckoned me over, urging me to take a closer look at their vibrant exterior. Curious flavors and names greeted me the more I inspected the options, with the blueberry donut especially making my mouth water earnestly. Tearing my eyes away from the donuts, I visually sifted through the miscellanea of scones, bars, cookies, etc. Hoping to get something to contrast the sweetness of the blueberry donut I would soon order, I also chose their cheesy, everything scone, which essentially looked like a hunk of cheesy-yellow goodness. Lastly, the partner of the savory and sweet snacks was a café miel that I ordered hot. The combined order cost a relatively large sum of money, all things considered, leaving the total somewhere around $13 with each item costing between $3-$5.

Thankfully, my order was promptly and swiftly delivered to me, immediately enticing my appetite. And there, nestled into a back corner with plush pillows at a window seat, drink in hand, I found bliss. Caught between wanting to do homework and people watch, I felt comfortable and at peace, content to simply do nothing and just be in the moment. To complete its spatial feel, light tunes from a playlist floated through the room, which all just happened to be my favorite songs from my favorite indie artists. If nothing else, Rise Authentic Baking Co. was homey with a warming atmosphere.

In preparation of the next few hours I would spend in this utopia, I took my first sip and was pleased with the light, spiced taste of the café miel. The drink is one you can essentially find anywhere, and managing to be both classic and unique, it always is very flavorful with a sweetness from the honey and a spicy tang from the cinnamon and nutmeg. Squibb’s café miel was just that, also managing to not be too gritty or grainy from the indulgent amount of spice that typically goes into making such a rich flavor. Light and refreshing, I happily slurped down the rest of the drink, all too pleased with my impulsive decisions with ordering.

Although I thought I was already very familiar with the taste of scones and donuts, Rise showed me something that life often does: the world is full of surprises, and apparently, so are donuts and scones. Contrary to my usual picture of donuts being light and fluffy, this berry-inspired donut resembled more of a dense biscuit with bright bursts of flavor from the fruity icing. In addition to rich, sugary goodness, it also held a slightly salty taste to it, definitely giving me the salty and sweet taste I had been wanting but hadn’t been expecting. It wouldn’t say that it was my favorite donut, but I was intrigued by this unique taste palette that inspired the bakers’ deviation from classic tastes and textures.

My next surprise was the scone. Despite not being as cheesy as I had been expecting, the scone was garlicky and savory, somehow embodying the taste of a flavorful cracker with the texture of a biscuit. Like the donut, the scone was subtly salty and grainy, yet this time more chunky. By the time I finished the scone, I was such a crumby mess because of the granular nature of the savory treat, but I was satisfied nonetheless despite my now-disheveled appearance.

Expenses and surprises aside, the combination Rise and Squibb made for an iconic dynamic, one I completely adore. Practically giddy with contentment, I left Rise Authentic Baking Co. with a happy heart, beyond grateful for the Saturday morning adventure that led to our introduction.