By KATHLEEN STEWARD
Sherry Stoppelbein, owner of Hot Shot Bakery and Cafe, is a woman who is off like a shot.
A true-blue Minorcan descendent, Stoppelbein has never lived anywhere but St. Augustine. She opened the Granada Street location eight years ago and a second restaurant on Cordova Street July 1.
Hot Shot Bakery has an enviable location across the street from the Lightner Museum and offers a variety of seating options from tables and counter space to an outside covered deck in the back of the cafe. Breakfast and lunch is served, as well as baked goods. Breakfast is served all day.
Stoppelbien has engineered her own line of hot sauces using the datil pepper. Named Datil B. Good, the sauce comes in five grades of temperature, from benign to wicked.
Kids have their own menu choices, and a cupcake happy hour is from 2 to 3 p.m. Wednesday — you get two cupcakes for the price of one.
How would you describe the restaurant’s atmosphere?
Very welcoming, inviting. There is an open kitchen with counter space, and that is a first for me. I’ve been in and out of the restaurant business for 30 years. As you walk in the door to the right, you will notice a wall full of photographs of our customers.
What is your food philosophy?
Always keep into play the freshest and the “bestest,” and you come out with the best result. We serve quite a few paninis, and when I say no panini before its time, I mean that. I enjoy coming up with new menu ideas. I fool around with the recipes until I get it right.
What types of cuisine do you specialize in?
We have our award-winning Minorcan Clam Chowder every Tuesday. And then there is my Datil B. Good sauce that is made right here. Everything is made fresh, and we buy specialty bread. I have a special mustard that takes seven days to make. The menu is mostly sandwiches, paninis and wraps. A year ago, I created a beverage menu with smoothies, shakes, espressos and lattes.
What is your signature dish?
Paninis. We sell a lot of them. Our bread is made with light wheat, flax and sunflower seeds. The pork we use in our Cuban panini is cooked here. There are two signature paninis created by regular customers, The Huba and The Leon. The Huba is turkey, cream cheese, provolone and sliced apples with our spicy datil pepper jelly. The Leon is honey glazed ham and swiss with our cranberry mustard.
What would you recommend for a first timer?
Our turkey and bacon panini. It comes with oven roasted turkey, cheddar, avocado, tomato and mayo. We press our paninis until they are goopy. Yes, goopy. Then we serve them with fresh pickles and your choice of potato salad or chips.