by Sophia Jones
Self-taught and unabashed American bakers Cheryl and Griffith Day serve up feel-good Southern soul from Savannah, Georgia’s Back in the Day Bakery.
Cheryl and Griffith Day like to keep it old school—she was once a dancer on Soul Train and he was a former player in a funk and R&B band. The couple opened Back in the Day Bakery in central Savannah’s Starland District in 2002, and have since reinvigorated homespun, Southern-style baking by putting their own flair on time-honored comfort food.
“America has a history of making things by hand, and a great pride in doing so,” Griffith says. “That’s been kind of lost, and people really want something made with honesty and pride. I think people are hungry for that.”
Visiting Back in the Day Bakery, set in a former gas station, is like stepping into a pastel kaleidoscope of sweets. The display case overflows with chocolate chip cookies, cornmeal jam drops, cotton candy meringues, and homemade Pop Tart-style pastries filled with fresh strawberries and topped with sprinkles. Peer out the giant window that wraps around their building, and before breakfast or lunch you’ll see people lined up by the dozen to get a slice of Cheryl’s ‘Nana Cream Pie or a loaf of Griffith’s artisan bread fresh from the oven. When entering, customers are greeted with an assortment of vintage flour containers and mixers perched on bright blue shelves against a whitewashed brick wall splotched with patches of fading wallpaper. Antique pendant lights and crystal chandeliers dangle from the ceiling. In the dining area, local regulars and tourists intermingle in an eclectic mix of wooden chairs and benches at communal tables. Family photos, pie tins, handmade pendants, and a faded American flag hang from the mint-colored walls.