In two weeks, more than 50,000 people will be flocking to Bristol for the annual Rhythm and Roots Reunion music festival.
It’s no secret, Bristol is The Birthplace of Country Music; and thanks to a revitalized downtown, it’s also gaining quite a reputation for its growing number of unique and eclectic restaurants and specialty shops.
One of the downtown hot spots sure to get a lot of love during the Reunion — Blackbird Bakery!
Such high praise is a sign of sweet success for owners Randall and Carla Perkins, who opened Blackbird back in 2008.
“It’s so hard to believe that we have been there for over five years now. We both always wanted to open a restaurant. She wanted a bakery and I wanted a greasy spoon. She won that battle!”
Randall is happy she did. Despite opening in the middle of a recession, Randall tells Very Best of Virginia that the bakery has been flying high.
Over the past five years, Blackbird has become famous in Bristol and the Virginia/Tennessee Tri-City region for its confections, especially its specialty and hot doughnuts.
With so much doughnut competition — including national chains — what sets Blackbird apart?
“I like ours better than the competitors! We are more known for specialty doughnuts than for hot glazed; but we sell lots of both. We also have a loyal cake doughnut following. We offer traditional cake doughnut flavors along with Red Velvet, Pumpkin, and Sweet Potato Doughnuts, which are seasonal.”
Blackbird also sells cakes, pies, cannoli, fritters, breads and more — and recently – Randall and Carla decided to expand the menu.
“We always offered great drip coffees blended specifically for us by Dark Hollow Microroasters in Sugar Grove, but earlier this year we decided to add espressos, specialty coffees and smoothies and Homestead Premium Ice Cream, which is made from milk that comes from two local farms in Franklin County.”
The new additions were an immediate hit, so the couple had another thought — why close the doors?
“After evaluating our operations, we decided that it made sense to be open 24 hours per day. We already have bakers there pretty much around the clock, seven days per week, and it has been a success. It has far exceeded our expectations.”
The quality of Blackbird’s baked goods has most certainly been the driving factor behind its continued success, but Randall says the bakery also owes much of its success to its location.
Bristol has become a major tourist attraction thanks to its NASCAR track (the fastest half mile on the circuit), countless biking and hiking trails, its now bustling downtown and, of course, music.
The Birthplace of Country Music® Museum, being built in partnership with the Smithsonian Institute, will open next August and the annual Rhythm & Roots Reunion has become one of America’s premiere outdoor music festivals.
“While you’re taking in all of the activities that are available in our city, you can come by Blackbird. If you like sweets, you’ll be hard pressed to find another bakery in our state that offers the abundance of sweet items that are on our menu on a daily basis.”
Speaking of sweet treats: Randall and Carla are adding even more confections to the menu to celebrate the upcoming season change and Rhythm & Roots Reunion.
“We just brought back our famous pumpkin and red velvet doughnuts for the fall. We also have Spiced Pumpkin Lattes, Pumpkin Whoopie Pies, and we will start offering our Pumpkin Ice Cream within the next few weeks. What could be better than enjoying some great music with all the tastes of fall?”
We’re not sure if there is anything better, Randall!
To learn more about Blackbird Bakery and to connect with Randall and Carla:
Visit the Blackbird Bakery website