Rhode Island has several overrated bakeries. In the Capitol, Providence, there’s already too many bakeries to count. Everyone has their favorites, however, there’s a few that often get touted as some of the best when in reality, they’re mediocre and overrated when compared to the overall competition.
This is a list of bakeries I’ve found to be overrated, with #1 being the most guilty. You can find bakeries that I suggest trying here.
Summary: Many red flags. Above average prices for below average products.
If you were to pass by, you’d likely notice the fairly large outside area busily occupied by families relaxing and enjoying what they’ve bought. Even googling, their immediate review score sits above 4 stars. No immediate red flags, however, the devil is in the details.
Entering, the shop is medium sized and fairly average looking. It has the typical baked goods along with some basic to-go lunch items. However, prices are above average for that seems to be at best, average baked goods. And indeed, they are average, not just by looks, but by their composition of taste and texture as well.
Looking further into the online reviews raises both eyebrows. Despite many high marks by reviewers, the critics note expired products routinely used, bugs and cleanliness issues, bland food, and interestingly, many leaving behind scathing reviews claiming they are former employees.
Unlike the overwhelming superior place next store, Madrid, as well as other nearby bakeries, L’Artisan caters to those who don’t want to venture outside the norm, ignore the red flags, and are willing to pay extra to do so.
2. Seven Stars
Summary: Mediocre food for exorbitant prices. Staff called to unionize due to low wages and other issues.
They often get dubbed as having “Rhode Island’s best bread” but you can bet you’ll be paying quite a bit of bread for any of their… bread—or anything in the shop, really. It should come as no surprise with this potential profit then that Seven Stars has managed to open several locations around the city.
Similar to L’Artisnan, employee relations may not be at its highest, with employees pushing and suceeding to unionize in June 2022. Before then, flyers were apparently passed about claiming that wages were as low as $9 / hour. In the beginning of 2023, Union workers ratified their first contract which called for sweeping changes from wage increases to better benefits.
Where ever you fall on the union situation, there’s no question that the prices at Seven Stars is well above average for all of their products. Does the quality match the price? In my opinion, not even close.
Summary: Their specialty, cakes, are very small and are both incredibly expense and bland.
While not technically a bakery, many people in the area go here for their desserts, specifically their cakes. However, instead of the “Parisian” style treatment, what you’ll likely get is a plate of lackluster pretentiousness.
Their small cakes fetch incredibly high prices. And don’t be fooled by their apparent clever flavors as you’ll likely be sorely disappointed with the blandness and how dry the cakes can be. Lastly, from my experience and from reviews I read, if you decide to eat inside and get served, expect tediously long waits that make you ask, “did they forget about my order?”
4. La Salle
Summary: High end bakery with average products.
“I don’t want anything out of the ordinary, just something basic, that tastes pretty well, and I don’t mind paying a lot.”
It’s not that La Salle is bad, it’s just that food is simply overpriced. It’s like they do a pretty decent job at making the basics, display them in fancy cases, and charge a price much higher than they ought to be. Ultimately, you’d be better served going to a smaller bakery that has equally as good items for a much lower price.
Summary: Some products are very good, most are average, everything is expensive.
If you’ve ever asked around for a recommendation, you’ve likely heard “Pastiche.” This Italian based bakery is known for their cakes like the tiramisu and carrot cake. However, you often don’t hear much about most of their other pastries and there’s likely a good reason for this: they’re mostly uninteresting and not worth the price. Lastly, you’ll likely find similar quality cakes at other smaller shops for a lot cheaper.