Cheap Eats: Proof Bakeshop

The newish Inman Park bakery is a welcome addition to the neighborhood

On the corner of DeKalb Avenue and Hurt Street in Inman Park sits Proof Bakeshop, the new sister operation to Decatur's Cakes and Ale led by co-pastry chefs David Garcia and Abigail Quinn. Open since early March, locals have adopted Proof as a place to grab a quick breakfast before running errands, take a quick lunch break, or pick up a loaf of freshly baked bread on the way home. Others camp out for hours chatting, reading, or working on laptops as they nibble scones and sip coffee. Even more refreshing than the quality of Proof's baked goods, however, are their affordable price tags, which range from $1.25 to $4.50.

UP AND AT 'EM: On sunny days, natural light floods in through Proof's large windows, bouncing off vintage-y, red-orange scoop chairs and potted plants on natural wood tabletops. A whiff of fresh, bold coffee emanating from the espresso station is like an alarm cock for the senses. Proof's daily rotating menu is hand-written on a board hanging over the counter. There are breakfast items like sweet or savory scones, cookies, and bars. A section of the menu dubbed "Viennoiserie" is where you'll find pastries such as buttery croissants, flaky kouign amann, and seasonal fruit tarts. Near the cash register is a station stocked with silverware, water, and an assortment of coffee-related condiments.

BRAIN FOOD: The flaky ham and cheese croissant and a cup of robust Counter Culture Coffee are enough to ease the pain of meeting strict deadlines. Settle into a low-counter seat or comfy couches among stocked bookshelves in the lounge area. Pastries and baked goods are arranged in a long glass case at the register. One day the case contained, among other things, blueberry muffins, glistening peach tarts, shortcake-like strawberry biscuits, and savory, not-too-oniony Gruyère and scallion scones ($2.50). Proof's noteworthy coffee cake ($3.25) has a dense and sticky bottom and is topped with a super-thick crumble. There are usually a few gluten-free and vegan items available, as well.

MEAL TICKET: Beyond baked goods, Proof serves breakfast from 7 to 10:30 a.m. On a recent visit, the light and custard-y seasonal quiche ($5.25) contained fatty lardons, caramelized onions, and thyme. The ham and Gruyère melt ($6.50) resembles a McDonald's Egg McMuffin, but don't judge a book by its cover. The melt included slices of rosemary ham and whipped, baked egg sandwiched between a chewy house-made English muffin. Lunch service, which began June 8, runs from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The menu includes a mix of seasonal salads and sandwiches such as a grilled cheese ($7), a summer veggie sandwich ($9), and a turkey and ham Monte Cristo ($9).

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