A bakery and cafe made possible by crowdfunding from the Tuscaloosa community will open to the public on Loop Road this weekend.

As the Thread first reported last summer, Ben Rosairo is a self-described Sri Lankan Brit who launched a successful Kickstarter campaign and raised more than $30,000 to find a brick-and-mortar home for his ever-expanding passion for baking sourdough.

Local folks may already know Ben's Bread from the three-plus years Rosairo has spent selling all manner of treats at the Tuscaloosa Rivermarket after he followed his partner to the Druid City when she got a job at the University of Alabama.

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Now, a few months after the Kickstarter exceeded his fundraising goals, Rosairo is ready to introduce the public the the Ben's Bread bakery and cafe, which opens March 1st and 2nd at 3510 Loop Road in the former home of Kozy's Fine Dining.

"The bakery will specialize, as I do now, in European-style sourdough bread and pastries, made with organic ingredients," he said. "We will start with pretty much just what I already make for the Rivermarket but slowly increase the range."

(Ben Rosairo)
(Ben Rosairo)

Rosairo said the bakery will open from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. on both days, and customers can pre-order products for pickup or just come and see what is available, which will expand as time goes on and may eventually include fresh-made sandwiches.

"There will be drip coffee, tea and hot chocolate available, along with sourdough bread, bagels and croissants," Rosairo told the Thread. "Each week we will attempt to add to the menu."

He said they hope to create a combination bakery and coffee shop equally suited to grab-and-go or enjoying your treat there in an environment Rosairo called calm and peaceful.

He also imagines a family-friendly angle to the space and said long-term plans could include a play structure for children and a community vegetable garden in the property's large yard.

(Ben Rosairo)
(Ben Rosairo)

"I hope making the space a family destination, combined with everything being naturally leavened sourdough and organic, will keep it fairly unique for Tuscaloosa," Rosairo said. "It's also a fascinating old building where so many people have memories of its previous lives, such as when it was Kozy's and there's this amazing little outdoor seating area, very private, and really quite lovely."

Rosairo said he continues to be struck by the kindness and community he and Sarah found in Tuscaloosa.

"People have been super supportive right from the beginning, back in 2020, and since the Kickstarter which was an amazing demonstration of that support, this has continued to grow," he said. "The amount of people who have helped me get this business going is incredible, not just by buying bread or pledging for the Kickstarter, but also by giving up time and energy to help and encourage me. It's been amazing."

For all that support, especially for the folks who pre-order products or backed the campaign, Rosairo said he remains constantly thankful.

"Overwhelmingly, thank you! I am so grateful for everyone's help in making this dream a reality," he said. "I simply could not have done this without the community support that has been there since the beginning. It means a huge amount that people believe in my ability to do this."

For more exclusive coverage of restaurant and retail development in west Alabama, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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