Maria’s Bakery – Designer’s View & Foodie’s Experience

 

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Photo Credit: Maria’s Bakery


Gluten Free Banana Bread

Photo Credit: Maria’s Bakery

Have you ever heard the expression “ kid in a candy store” ? I think it perfectly describes the expression of pure bliss on anyone’s face. I believe this statement totally sums up my expression when I enter a bakery.  I remember my childhood sweetened with memories of the bakery vans speeding through the community and my many jaunts to their store front. This was way before the café concept was introduced to Trinidad.  During my college days (aka the best days of my life #sororitylife) bakeries in Trinidad were not trending as much with the evolving generation. Café concept shops  emerged and this was the beginning of an almost never ending fascination. Entrepreneurs, artisans and chefs looked on at this and I could feel some creative genius bubbling.

Christmas Menu

Photo Credit: Maria’s Bakery

Fast forward to post college years and I find Trinidad’s creative entrepreneurs taking advantage of the opportunity to merge the public’s demand for fusion concepts (makes sense as we are a fusion culture after all).  The public wants to reconnect with something reminiscent of the past but something that is designed for modern day lifestyle (and instagram). I believe this is what makes Maria’s Bakery the crème de la crème in finding their business brand’s sweet spot and making it worth their while and yours too.

Traditional “Trini” Christmas Plates

Photo Credit: Maria’s Bakery

Bake and  Saltfish Buljol

Photo Credit: Maria’s Bakery

The Designer’s View

Please excuse me as I go on my interior design binge here (I can’t help it). Design is not just aesthetically pleasing but functional too. It is a critical success factor in my opinion as it is used to create a space that will be inhabited or experienced by one or more persons at any given time. Hence it is crucial to pay heed to design as it significantly impacts the lives of those who immerse themselves in any created place. My review is on Maria’s Bakery, the St. Augustine branch.  St. Augustine is the smallest of the branches. It is a convenient “grab and go” space. Each location carries their signature logo and look so the brand essence resonates with the customer when they do a “walk in” to any Maria’s Bakery branch. There is strategic placement of item display bins. The showcase is coordinated in a visually appealing manner and it allows easy movement of the lines of sight. I appreciate the thought given to spatial planning in this location as it relates to the customer service blueprint in terms of the customer who walks in, chooses an item, approaches the cashier, makes a purchase and departs.

Store Front of Maria’s Bakery , St. Augustine

Photo Credit: Samsung Galaxy 7

Back End of Maria’s Bakery , St. Augustine

Photo Credit: Samsung Galaxy 7

I welcome the mix of achromatic and monochromatic colour schemes as well as the pops of colour. The executed mix appeals to a warm vibe. Brown tones are masculine but not harsh as they transition and evoke feelings of strength and stability. This is seen in the menu board, the exterior signage, flooring and the cabinets.  I like the use of shades of white because whilst white is the colour of innocence and cleanliness this shade does not dare appear too clinical on walls and ceilings. The hue reflects light to make the cozy location appear a bit more spacious.

Obviously thought was given to the orientation of the building where the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Notably, the  glass doors are on the western side so the full brawn of the rising sun is not felt as much as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. This  means a  cooler temperature is maintained during the daytime which is aided and abetted by air condition vents.  In a tropical climate  careful consideration to this is important so Maria’s Bakery does not  become weathered by sunlight exposure or become an oven (no pun intended).

Storage, is another design solution that minimizes the chances of  a warmer and  “boxed in” space. Sometimes too much clutter and or open storage in a space can make areas feel claustrophobic and appear even smaller. However,  Maria’s manages to strike the right balance as glass display bins and chillers keep items stored in sight  whilst opaque  cabinets manage to keep other items organized and out of sight. The artificial lighting sources are perfect  as they serve their function to see the displays, walking and working areas.  Nonetheless, there is so much natural light that comes in from the glass door and windows that  there is no need for too many additional light sources.

The view through glass doors of Maria’s Bakery , St. Augustine

Photo Credit: Samsung Galaxy 7

Storage Cabinets inside of Maria’s Bakery , St. Augustine

Photo Credit: Samsung Galaxy 7

I adore the strategic use and mix of architectural styles in this location. The minimal and modern styles of design for this space are  made more beautiful with the mountainous backdrop and surrounding views. There is great use of the elements of design like shapes and lines to project adjusted perceptions of space. The curved lines along the display showcase among other places  are organic and freeing which break up the structural aspects of the modular space.  I see balance in the vertical and horizontal lines used in store. The vertical lines make the space appear taller and the horizontal lines keep the space grounded evoking more intimate, comforting and safe vibes. I see more squares and rectangles in this location. I like the use of these geometric shapes as they stimulate feelings of trust, stability and equality.  The ceiling lights are squares. There are circles at the base of the display bins. The circle shape is feminine with engaging characteristics like love, power and energy. This shape also defines infinity and harmony which are needed in a space like this.

Display Bins, Bread Baskets and  Floor Finish of Maria’s Bakery , St. Augustine

 Photo Credit: Samsung Galaxy 7

The finishes used in store appear more natural and give that modern, simple, authentic yet earthy vibe. The materials used seem to be  laminate, brick/stone, wood, concrete, glass and steel. This location feels like a fusion concept gourmet bakery as a sky high stone/brick finish “chimney”  alludes to that charm of a  rustic café/bakery without compromising the modern feel of minimalistic architecture. This tall projection also draws the line of sight upward. There is  ample use of reflective and matte finishes in store.  The rhythm and repetition flows throughout this space endorsing a feeling of completion. The ceilings are lighter toned which makes the space appear bigger. Even though the floor is a darker hue to the ceiling there is balance in a space that appears to recede yet advance for an intimate vibe. The flooring at Maria’s has a matte wood grain surface. There is a blend of matte and shiny surfaces on the interior at this establishment.  At the top of the display bins some woven baskets ( filled with Maria’s signature homemade bread) add texture to the smooth  surfaces of the countertops, display bins and floors. I love the way the principles and elements of design were used to create a space and make it into a created place that enhances the experience of everyone who walks into Maria’s Bakery.

The Foodie’s Experience

On another note Maria’s Bakery products are an even bigger part of design. I love their product design as each item is handcrafted with love and attention to detail. Their products comprise of sweet and savoury goods. Their offering ranges from traditional, seasonal to gourmet items. Maria’s Bakery is a great stop for bread, breakfast, lunch and snacks.  There are soups, sandwiches, pancakes, crepes and waffles.  One can enjoy items like corn soup, bake and shark as well as gourmet treats like red velvet cookies, chocolate croissants and nutella swirl cookies. This is bakery heaven, as one has in front of them, a paradise of almost infinite choices. Thankfully there is a menu on hand so your eyes can focus on that and make an informed decision rather than dart to and from all the delectable awesomeness in front of you. Also, there is a superb variety of pies, tarts, cupcakes and cakes to pair with tea, coffee and juice of your preference. Gluten free items are also available. One can find pastelles and even fruitcake during the holiday season.  Maria’s prices are reasonable considering the time, effort and creative thought put into the design of product, service and experience. Prices start at under TT$10 and increase depending on purchase. The staff is knowledgeable of the products and services that the business offers. Employees are attentive, courteous and professional. The wait time is not long and arduous.

Blueberry Crepes

Photo Credit: Maria’s Bakery

Oreo Brownies

Photo Credit: Maria’s Bakery

Currently there are three main locations for finding Maria’s Bakery; North, South and East. An additional location will be opened soon at Piarco’s International Airport. Meanwhile patrons can look to  Port of Spain at #5 Pole Carew Street in Woodbrook to find Maria’s Bakery. The telephone contact there is 223.5050. The next stop would be alongside Republic Bank’s University of the West Indies branch in St. Augustine. The final stop is at Southpark Plaza in San Fernando. The contact at the south branch is 221.2460.   Maria’s Bakery can be found online. There are website and social media channels to follow the latest buzz on what’s baking at Maria’s as well as what promotions and deals are in store for you!

Bacon and Eggs Breakfast Plate

Photo Credit: Maria’s Bakery

 

Waffles

Photo Credit: Maria’s Bakery

Find them on facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/Marias-Bakery-157399634340644/

Find them on their website at

http://mariasbakerytt.com/

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