By Sarah Richardson
After sitting empty for several years, the old Lowell’s Bakery storefront is alive with activity once again, and will reopen as a new bakery and gathering spot: Good Roads Bakehouse. Pittsburgh transplant Daniel Cannon is the owner of the new establishment, and is eager to provide a food option to the community of Frankford that has been missing since Lowell’s closure in 2013.
“I’m extraordinarily fortunate,” says Cannon. “I’m in love with the brightest, most creative woman I know. I have the unending support of my loving parents and my four brothers. And now, I have the great opportunity to do what I love for a living, and to serve real food made with real ingredients to locals and travelers alike.”
Cannon moved to the Greenbrier Valley with his fiancé Karri Roberts just nine months ago, and has been working on his dream to open his own bakery.
“It was a desire to create a life for ourselves that was ours – from homesteading to starting my own business.”
His fiancé’s family is from Nicholas County, so when they decided to move to West Virginia they hunted far and wide to find the perfect spot.
“We like Greenbrier County, we traveled around to a couple different counties around the state, but we love how pretty it is here. The people have been kind and welcoming, and our neighbors have been really great.”
He is renting the space from Lowell Lewis and his wife Pat, the owners of Lowell’s Bakery, and he is operating with their blessing.
“Pat and Lowell have been nothing but kind, welcoming, and helpful for this. We are very pleased to have their support and their willingness to let us use the space,” he said.
As to why they choose old bakery’s storefront, he said it was a perfect fit for their needs. “It’s been sitting here empty for years, and we saw an opportunity to move in here, and the kitchen was already here, obviously. All it took was moving in a bit of equipment.”
Cannon explained that he has an unusual background with food preparation that left him wanting to provide that type of service to people. He spent much of his 20’s working as a tour guide for groups of travelers in which he acted as driver, meal planner, cook, historian, and everything else.
“In that, I would be feeding these people,” he said. “I’d put breakfast on the table in the morning, and I’d feed all 13 of them every night. It really brought out a feeling of service to people, and to feed them and to join them every day after a long day of travel and be able to sit and break bread with them became really important for me.”
While driving thousands of miles a week, he says he often needed a quick and convenient bite to eat to keep him going, like a burger from the Sno Cap in Seligman, Arizona, or the bowl of chili with cornbread in the Yosemite cafeteria. “Something hearty and nourishing,” he said. “That’s what I hope to provide to our community.”
After meeting his now-fiancé, he got off the road and took a day job, but needed something to fill his time, so he started baking.
“I kept trying to learn new things, and got better and better. Once the pandemic hit we were looking for opportunities to get out of the state since we aren’t city folks, and saw the opportunity to come down to Greenbrier County. When this space opened up to us, it was a no-brainer to be able to take what I’ve been trying to do in the kitchen and to bring it to hopefully feed the community for some time to come.”
He says that ultimately, he hopes the shop will be a place that the public can rely on several days a week for a quick, no-hassle bite to eat that is handmade with real ingredients and at a reasonable price.
This weekend, at their soft opening on Saturday, Aug. 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., expect to see fresh fruit tarts with local strawberries, pepperoni rolls, ham and cheese hand pies, salted maple pie, buttermilk biscuits, chocolate chip cookies, and several kinds of focaccia- an Italian olive oil bread with a variety of toppings including pizza-style, corn and feta, and tomato and rosemary. They also have coffee and WiFi available for guests.
Going forward the menu will have some changes and variations, but Cannon hopes to provide at least one hot and one cold sandwich per day, and potentially salads in the future.
“It’s all evolutionary, it can all change, it can all grow,” he said. “Whether it’s produce, get your picture with a chicken day, maybe live music, just to have such a big space available to us- we are really quite fortunate.”
Goods Roads plans to be open on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and check their Facebook at Good Roads Bakehouse for hours and more details as they become available.
Cannon says, “We hope you’ll visit soon and together we can enjoy a bite to eat, listen to some Grateful Dead or maybe some John Prine, and keep on rolling down the road. Just remember, take it slow in the morning, not too fast in the afternoon.”