This is where Villagers start their day. The combination bakery and coffee shop opened up last July, the culmination of 15 years of baking work put in by owner and chef Dana Johnson. Before Sugar Cubed, Johnson owned a catering company and taught at Manatee Technical Institute. But when a small cottage property opened up in the Village, Johnson couldn’t resist the idea of opening his own storefront.
“If you’re going to work, you might as well work for yourself,” he says.
Sugar Cubed offers eight kinds of bread, plus a bevy of pastries and desserts, drip coffee and espresso concoctions. Having his own space means Johnson is free to experiment, and the fruits of all that trial-and-error is evident in his exceptional sweets. A “Mexican hot chocolate” brownie delivers a zesty dose of cayenne, while a s’mores cake is topped with a crust of burnt marshmallow. Marvelous.
Another thing Johnson is excited about: collaboration. He’s worked with the Bradenton pickling operation Sunshine Canning to pair local mustard with his bread, and has used grains from the nearby Darwin Brewing Co. to bake. Bradenton, and the Village of the Arts in particular, is a community he’s happy to be a part of: “I see this area as the next big thing.”