The Baker Miller (4610 N. Western Ave., Lincoln Square, no phone) buzz machine has been going strong since the artisanal-to-the-max bakery/café opened last week. That’s unsurprising when you take an operation that’s this micro-scaled—the milling of flour, rolling of oats, and grinding of grits is all done in-house—and add in a neighborhood that’s gone totally bananas for everything the crew produces. Crazy crowds have forced owners Dave and Megan Miller (formerly of Bang Bang Pie Shop) to shorten their hours and disconnect their phone.
But if you arrive, as we did, before 9 a.m. on a weekday, you’ll have your pick of anything (or everything) on the menu. We went the everything route: a hearty cinnamon roll cloaked in cream-cheese frosting, a pleasingly rustic apple hand pie. Sugar plum muffins. DIY toast. A tomato-dappled grits bowl with a poached egg. You want all of it.
But there is only one dish that you absolutely, positively need. Oatmeal.
Yes, seriously, oatmeal ($8.50). This is no gluey, gloppy pile of Quaker mess: This is a bowl of al dente oats, served floating in a sea of cream and pecans and topped at present with plum jam and cultured cream (read: yogurt). Sweet without being saccharine, a vague air of healthiness (it’s oats! Oats are good for you! Just pretend the cream isn’t there!) There was a sea of cookies and cakes on the table and yet somehow the oatmeal held us rapt.
The oatmeal toppings will rotate with the seasons—predictably, Baker Miller relies on local, market-sourced produce to gussy up its goods—but the base will remain.
Those crowds are probably going to stick around, too.