Winter weather fails to dampen reopening of Smoky Mountain Bakers

Published 11:04 am Friday, January 12, 2024

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By Buzz Trexler
Star Correspondent
ROAN MOUNTAIN – It would seem neither wind nor rain was able to hamper Smoky Mountain Bakers’ first days of reopening after being closed for more than two months.

“We were very happy with everybody that came back Tuesday,” Anton Decker said as workers served an early afternoon crowd on Thursday. “Our whole crew came back.”

The parking lot was nearly full, and Anton could be seen busily spreading out dough and sauce as pizzas moved in and out of the brick oven his father, Tim, built by hand. In the early days of Smoky Mountain Bakers, pizzas were baked in an oven installed in a back window.

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The restaurant, located at 126 Orr St., reopened Tuesday, Jan. 9, under a new ownership group that includes Anton Decker; his parents, Tim and Crystal Decker; brother, Jeremy Decker; and a customer.

The restaurant offers all its past favorites, including breakfast (8-10:45 a.m.) and pizza (starting at 11 a.m.), plus espresso drinks, grab-and-go desserts and snacks, new pastries, and more from a freshly remodeled kitchen and dining room.

The little pizzeria, breakfast, and bakery shop has received praise from beyond, including being recognized by the Washington Post for its pizza, and more recently from Restaurant Guru for Best Service, Best Takeaway Food, and Best Outdoor Seating.

The restaurant is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday; 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. The phone number is 423-957-1202.

Tim Decker told The Star last fall that his roots are deep in Roan Mountain. His mother was born on Ripshin Ridge and is buried in Nelson Cemetery. He said his “five times great-grandfather,” Asly Morgan, settled on Ripshin in 1630.

Decker said he came home to Roan Mountain from Santa Rosa, Calif., where he owned a large bakery for 15 years. “My bakery won tons of awards and best of show for my breads.”

Filmed by PBS, he’s shared that knowledge with “people from all over the world, teaching them how to bake in brick ovens and how to make different breads.”

“I have over 100 in my repertoire,” Decker estimates. “I have done about 10 here,” he said, concentrating on those that would sell.