In 2009, Matthew Tilden began trading bread for workspace in a pizza shop, which allowed him to start slinging loaves to some of the best businesses across the city. He didn't have an endgame, but he knew he wanted to build a brand. His goal was simple: Make great product in a fun, hospitable environment. At that he has succeeded. Since 2010 SCRATCHbread, his (newly expanded) Bed-Stuy storefront, has churned out an array of wood-oven-baked goods, sandwiches, flatbreads, and grits, plus a large board of build-your-own options. Our advice is to resist the temptation to customize and instead let Tilden take care of business. His grits are like a cross-cultural experience: Soft eggs sit atop a creamy pile of the Southern staple, kale basil pesto and smoked-almond romesco add a fresh element, and crisp bacon finishes it off. On the rare occasions on which he's run out of the ground corn, he has nearly seen revolts. “I was never a baker,” Tilden insists. “I’ve been a savory chef my whole career. I don’t even like sugar, believe it or not. I just like to make bread and pastry.” That’s plenty good enough for us.
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