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Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / Mariola Salas brings out more baked goods at Chris Bakery on Thursday, March 25, 2021 in Chattanooga, Tenn.

For almost two decades, Amando Salas, co-owner of Chris Bakery on Brainerd Road, worked in the restaurant industry as a manager at the Boathouse, but when the pandemic hit, his ability to support his family was diminished. Looking for an opportunity, he reached out to a cousin in Kentucky to learn how to bake bread and traveled there to learn the craft.

He then spent about a year practicing.

"Before we opened, my dad was selling his bread to friends and neighbors and going door to door," said Daniel Salas.

Apparently, the lessons took and today Amando and his family — wife, Mariola, sons Chris and Daniel and daughter Ariana— own Chris Bakery in Chattanooga. The shop is located in the space once occupied by Pizza Hut at the corner of Brainerd Road and Belvoir Avenue. The store is named after Chris.

The bakery features traditional Latino bakery favorites such as rolls, doughnuts, empandas, gallinas, galletas de boda, bolillos and conchas, the seashell-shaped favorite made with cookie dough and cinnamon bread. They are made with vanilla, chocolate and strawberry flavoring.

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Chris Bakery

Daniel said the cinnamon rolls and bolillos, a crusty roll, are the most popular items with customers. The football-shaped bolillos are about the size of a man's moccasin, while the cinnamon rolls are about the size of a salad plate and both melt in your mouth, especially when served warm.

"The bolillos are good for sandwiches, but some people like them with coffee for breakfast," Mariola said.

Other favorites are breads stuffed with cream cheese, strawberry, pineapple, coconut, guave or apples.

The bakery is located in a small small space with room to grow, and Daniel said it serves only walk-in customers currently.

In addition to the baked goods, it also sells drinks and chips. Customers can also get regular updates throughout the day on the store's Facebook page about what is coming out of the ovens and daily specials.

Contract Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

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