Leander bakery provides relaxing outlet for its patrons
The co-owners of Two Saints Baking Co. and Cafe in Leander do not shy away from revealing their steep, long-term aspirations less than one year since opening the establishment.
“I always joke that 10 to 15 years ago no one knew what Panera was,” Aaron Santos said, drawing an early comparison to St. Louis-based chain Panera Bread Co.
But before reaching such national status, much refining remains for the young bakery, which opened in January and already includes a second location in Bee Cave. Aaron and his wife, Amy Santos, and David and Heather Tworoger collectively operate the two venues.
Initial aspirations of running a national franchise restaurant bonded the two couples. While returning home from a failed investment trip, Aaron and his brother-in-law, David, decided upon opening a bakery and cafe concept similar to those popular in California, from where Aaron originally hails, and Two Saints was born.
Leander quickly embraced a new, original option, the Two Saints co-owners agreed, rather than another chain restaurant.
“What they hunger for is that locally owned cafe, and they appreciate being able to meet the owners and have that relationship,” Heather said. “They become invested in you, and that relationship is special.”
The bakery’s downtown location also came about naturally. While paying their water bills at Leander City Hall, Aaron and Amy noticed the unoccupied building across Willis Street. The classic structure was repurposed and opened as part of the area’s broader revitalization effort—the “Leander renaissance,” Amy calls it.
“It’s been wonderful,” David said. “I think it turned out to be everything we anticipated by becoming a gathering place for people.”
Many menu items were regular meals Amy’s mother and grandmother once made. She has carried on their cooking prowess to create some of Two Saints’ most popular items, including the quiche, paninis and various salads and sandwiches.
Her commitment to perfecting the menu follows Amy even when she is not at work.
“When you’re punching the clock while working for someone else, you can clock out,” she said. “But it’s a 24/7 thing when you’re the owner.”
Customers are encouraged to stay as long as they please while enjoying various baked goods, brunch items, seasonal specials and locally brewed coffee. The shop has also become the unofficial meeting place for Leander’s Coffee and Cars series, which takes place outside Two Saints from 11 a.m.–2 p.m. the first Sunday of each month.
The weekend events help further efforts by Two Saints owners to create a casual environment where people feel free to bring their friends and congregate.
“When it grows organically like that by people bringing their friends because they want to share something special, then that’s what it’s all about,” Aaron said.
Options vary from paninis, sandwiches, salads and soups.
- The Angel’s Club is a twist on a classic with three layers of sourdough toast.
- The southwest turkey panini and roast beef and green chili panini are two of the most popular alternatives to traditional sandwiches.
- The spinach chicken salad is the most-ordered specialty salad at Two Saints. The restaurant also has favorites such as a chicken Caeser salad and Greek salad.
- Soup such as cream of potato can be ordered by the cup or bowl and varies by day.
Breakfast or brunch
These items are served before 11 a.m. weekdays and all day each weekend.
- The quiche has proven to be one of the most popular breakfast items—so popular, in fact, that it is now served all day. Two Saints also serves classics such as breakfast tacos and biscuits and gravy.
- The brunch menu consists of pancake meals and omelets, including the caramel pecan pancake meal served with any choice of eggs and meat. There is also the Two Saints omelet, featuring crumbled sausage, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, cheese, salsa and chipotle sour cream.
Two Saints Baking Co. and Cafe, 106 W. Willis St., Leander, 260-5700, www.two-saints.com