Bakery’s new owner couldn’t let the doors close on popular Phippsburg business |

Bakery’s new owner couldn’t let the doors close on popular Phippsburg business

John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today
After purchasing a house in Phippsburg last summer, Tara Wernig fell in love with the railroad-themed Bakery Express cafe near her home. When the owners wanted to retire and considered closing its doors, she stepped in to make sure the business would continue.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Tara Wernig bought a house in Phippsburg last summer, and shortly after, fell in love with the railroad-themed Bakery Express, which was just down the street from her new home.

“It was great having them here,” Wernig said of the bakery that was located just down the street from her. “It was the best part of living in P-burg.”

So when Wernig learned that the bakery’s owners Anita and Robert Hawkins wanted to retire and planned to close the doors on the business, she couldn’t let that happen.

“I kind of did it for selfish reasons, because I wanted it to stay open and so many people loved it,” Wernig said. “It is a little gem down here.”

The Bakery Express closed briefly in March, but by May, Wernig had reopened the doors of the business and changed its name to the Causeway Café.

“It happened really quick,” Wernig said. “We didn’t have any plans to do it at all until we started talking to them (Anita and Rob Hawkins) about not closing.”

That was good news for those who had already discovered the café located a half-hour south of Steamboat Springs along Colorado Highway 131.

“They were doing mostly baked goods with a few breakfast items and a few lunch items,” Wernig said. “We added a few more breakfast and lunch items, and we still have a lot of the same baked goods.”

Wernig, who grew up in Steamboat and graduated from Steamboat Springs High School in 2004, is no stranger to the restaurant and service industry. She spent 15 years working at Winona’s and ran a food wagon that served crepes call Mountain Mama’s.

“I worked a Winona’s (Restaurant) forever,” Wernig said. “I worked there during high school and for about 15 years.”

She said most of her experience at the popular Steamboat restaurant and bakery was in the front of the house so her baking experience was limited. Before taking over the bakery in Phippsburg, she started working with the pasty chef the Hawkins had used and learned as much as she could.

Today, the Causeway Café, which is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays, offers baked goods, including the focaccia bread that is used for sandwiches, as well as a rotating assortment of scones from the classic lemon poppy seed to the more experimental cherry almond pistachio.

The café also offers full breakfast and lunch menus. Some breakfast favorites include the ham and jam biscuit, biscuits and gravy, Israeli breakfast and a black and blue, banana smoothie bowl. Lunch offerings include the curry chicken salad sandwich, pork bahn mi, barbecue-pulled pork and a veggie grilled cheese.

Wernig said the pace down south is a little different than her days working at Winona’s, but that’s not all bad.

“What you find here is a little slower pace, and people are not as rushed,” Wernig said. “There is a more relaxing atmosphere in South Routt without a line out the door.”

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