The 'legendary' secret Birmingham bakery you've never heard of with customers queuing out the door

You can smell it before you see it. The heavenly scent of freshly baked bread envelops the queue of customers snaking out of the Crusty Cottage Craft Bakery, at the top of Gorsy Road, in Quinton.

The line moves quickly and soon enough they are choosing from rows, trays and shelves heaving with traditional English bloomers, breads, crusty cobs, every kind of generously portioned cake, pastries, pasties, pies, sandwiches and other affordable treats all baked to perfection on the premises. The bakery is run by local husband and wife team Ross and Joanne Jones who took over around seven years ago and transformed it into such a runaway success, the fresh cream faithful flock from as far afield as Coventry and Worcester.

The prices are a steal. A large loaf costs £1.90, a small loaf is priced at £1.50, 35p for a cob and the most expensive cake is £1.50.

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It's 11am on a Thursday and bustling. I'm told they sell around 1,000 crusty cobs on Saturdays. During lockdown, people queued in the darkness for 90 minutes and it is the same at Christmas.

Joanne, 44, worked at the same shop under the previous owner and took over when he put it up for sale. Ross, a former baking lecturer at the University College Birmingham, joined her when he was made redundant a few years later.

Joanne and Ross Jones of the Crusty Cottage Craft Bakery Quinton
Joanne and Ross Jones -Credit:Joanne and Ross Jones of the Crusty Cottage Craft Bakery Quinton

Ross, 48, said they start at 4am and bake non-stop until 2pm so everything is as fresh as it could be. He said: "During lockdown and Christmas Eve, they were queuing for up to one and-a-half-hours.

"We have one chap who comes once a month from Worcester to buy bread and he freezes it. One lady from Wigan saw our pineapple creams on our Facebook page and when she was visiting some relatives she came and got some.

"We always wanted our own bakery and we have kept at it. The first year was really hard. The last four years have been really busy. I thought it was going to be a sandwich shop but it's grown legs.

"The staff are bubbly and happy. We care about our customers and they come in for a chat- it's a little bit of a social club."

Customers queue for their turn at the Crusty Cottage Bakery on Gorsy Road, Quinton
Customers queue for their turn at the Crusty Cottage Bakery on Gorsy Road, Quinton -Credit:Nick Wilkinson/Birmingham Live

They open 9-3pm Tuesdays to Fridays and from 8.30am to 3pm on Saturday. A team of seven staff are employed with two preparing cakes on the Mondays ahead of the working week.

Baker Jonathan Price, 40, who starts at 4am, said: "We bake everything on site, it's freshly made. It's traditionally English like lardy cake, cornflake cake, chocolate concrete. On a Saturday we make more than 1,000 crusty cobs easily and all of them sell.

"We do bloomers, tin breads, fresh cream cakes, meat and veg pasties, Cornish, sausage rolls, balti pies, chicken and mushroom pies.

"We have no preservatives in our breads, it's flour, slat, yeast, water and improver which is used to cut down the fermentation time otherwise it would take ages. We start baking at 4am.

"We are pretty much sold out on Saturdays and it's really busy. We've got the regulars from 8.15am already queueing.

"We were allowed to stay open and the queues were massive, they queued for an hour. Our best selling products include brownies, we sell around 45 of them a day, chocolate concrete and pineapple creams."

Trays of freshly baked goods
Trays of freshly baked goods -Credit:Nick Wilkinson/Birmingham Live

Bakery assistant Sophie Dickins, said: "It's busy, you are never stood still.

"The older customers like pineapple creams, lardy cake and bread pudding. The younger ones like cookies, brownies, chocolate concrete, vanilla sprinkle slices.

"Our goods go - you've got to get in fast."

Councillor Sam Forsyth is enormously grateful the owner chose Quinton to realise their dream of opening a traditional English bakery. She said: "This is a local success story. It's serving the local community with really good value cakes and bread.

"It's become a much-loved institution, it's a local legend. On Saturday, the queues come down the road.

"Follow your nose to Gorsy Road !"

Sinead Keenahan at work at the back of the bakery
Sinead Keenahan at work at the back of the bakery -Credit:Nick Wilkinson/Birmingham Live

Customer Jackie Raison, 72, from Harborne, said: "I love the place, the staff, the food. It's just amazing.

"My husband likes the lardy cake, while my favourite is the cupcakes and salad cobs. It's a proper old fashioned shop, nothing is too much trouble - give them all a medal."

Mrs Raison's daughter, Sally Hughes, 42, said: "We come from Longbridge, probably twice a week. My kids love the cakes and they won't have anything else."

Mike Haywood, 86, from Harborne who shops there weekly, said: "It's proper bread, not processed like you get in supermarkets. I like the lardy cake - you can't buy it anywhere else."

Dad of four, Dave Harris, 49, from Quinton, said: "My wife has sent me to buy brownies, she will have two over the weekend. I like the steak bakes."

Nicole Vale, 44, from Harborne, visits three times a week. She said: "I like the crusty cobs, they are the best.

"They do old style cakes like bread pudding, lardy cake."

Why not ? The delicious bread pudding needs no hard sell
Why not ? The delicious bread pudding needs no hard sell -Credit:Nick Wilkinson/Birmingham Live

Ayo Akande, 48, is waiting in the queue with his friend. He said: "This is our first time here. We've come from Sheldon to try this place out because my friend has said really good things about it and judging by the number of people queuing, it must be really good."

Dad-of-three Lee Yeomans from Redditch has popped in to snap up 10 crusty cobs and two bread puddings.

The plumber said: "My kids love the cobs. I've been coming every week since it opened.

"I love it- the nice tasty bread. It's light, fluffy, makes a difference."