As I have said many times before, the part of this job that I love is meeting interesting people in interesting places.
This proved true when we were returning from a trip to Nine Mile Canyon and decided to find the Whitmore Mansion in Nephi. When we reached I-15, instead of turning right to go home, we turned left and went to Nephi.
After finding the Mansion, and taking lots of photographs, we decided we were hungry and wanted a place we could sit inside and be served. We found one restaurant that was takeout only, so we continued to look. We found a little place on a corner called Open Hearth Sandwich and Pastry Shop that advertised inside seating and decided to give it a try. That turned out to be a monumental decision.
Brent Anderson owns and operates Open Hearth, and his love for baking radiates from every pore in his body. We sat down and had a great sandwich. Brent came out to our table and asked if we were enjoying the sandwich. As it turned out, it was the first day of operation, and before we knew it, we were scheduling an appointment for an interview.
We met with Brent on July 1 and the first question we asked was why he settled on a little out of the way place like Nephi. He said it was the first place he found where the property owner would work with him, and he thought the town needed a bakery. He also wants to demonstrate that a bakery, donut, and sandwich shop can be a viable business for young people.
Brent has been baking since 1960. He started out working for Spudnuts and became a manager consulting with franchisees throughout the region. He taught culinary arts classes in the prison in Gunnison. He sees it as a way for paroled prisoners to make a living for themselves. He wants them to be able to own their own business and become a positive part of the neighborhood.
The buns are amazing because he makes his own dough, which is a basic roll dough recipe.
To achieve the degree of volume and freshness he desires, water is 65 percent of the weight of the ingredients, because the dough must be slightly wet. We commented on the buns and got an enthusiastic dissertation on bread making. At Open Hearth one can choose between raised or cake doughnuts, glazed or frosted doughnuts, a single doughnut or a dozen. In addition to the doughnuts, you can order several different sandwiches including Roast Beef, Turkey Malibu, Ham and Cheese, Turkey Breast, and Turkey, Ham and Swiss Cheese. For a unique eating experience at a real bakery, give Open Heath Sandwich and Pastry Shop in Nephi a try. Open Hearth is located at 290 South, Main Street. (Helmick is a Serve Daily contributor.)