If cameraman Korey (@KoreyDavisPhotography) doesn’t shoot it, I won’t eat it.

You ever ate something so good your knees buckled? Or had your mouth water at just the thought of a particular dish?  To date, I have traveled to nine major U.S. cities in search of amazing food, and Big Mike’s by far, has been the best bakery yet.

I learned of this spot from one of our blog followers who trolled me via Facebook until I reached out to this black owned business. I figured if a joint had such loyal and evangelical customers, then it has to be off the chain.  Well, that customer actually UNDERSOLD BIG MIKE’S BAKERY!

Located in a cozy storefront in Coral Springs at 4602 Coral Ridge Dr, Coral Springs, FL 33321, the bakery is beautifully decorated with vibrant and inviting pastel colors.  Aromatics from Mr. Michael Hopkins’ kitchen greet you as soon as the entrance door is opened.  This brother is no joke.  Where can you find GLUTEN FREE AND ORGANIC EVERYTHING that tastes like Aunt Jemima, Martha Stewart, Uncle Ben, and Emeril Lagasse fused “Dragon Ball Z style” into one freaking body? Where in the world can you get gluten free dessert items and an order of baby back BBQ Ribs, Chicken Pot Pie, Lasagna, and fresh baked Challah Bread?  Yeah, you heard right, I ate BBQ Ribs at a bakery.

big-mike-and-cook
Mike Hopkins (Big Mike) and his head Chef

Hopkins (AKA Big Mike) was diagnosed with Celiac disease in 2010.  This disease makes you extremely sensitive to gluten, a general name for the proteins found in wheat, cereal, and grains that if consumed by a sufferer of Celiac disease, can cause serious illness and even be life threatening.  We aren’t talking about those dumb hipsters who ask for gluten free items because it’s a fad. Celiac is very serious and prevents its victims from enjoying some of life’s most precious gifts, such as pizza, pasta, and of course cake!

Big Mike changed all that when he spent over a year and thousands of his own money to perfect a gluten free flour mix which allows him to make all the things he loved such as pasta, cakes, cookies, and other dessert items without sacrificing taste.

I’m not sure if you ever tried a gluten free item, but every single time I had something gluten free it was utterly disgusting with an unflattering chalky consistency to it.  Big Mike destroyed my past experiences with gluten free food through his amazing menu items that rival any top gluten inclusive bakery.  His unique flower blend is the key to achieving a moist and soft texture with an amazing flavor for all his baked items.

To start off, I tried the Miniature Zucchini Bread ($4.50), made with freshly grated zucchini.  I know what you’re probably thinking. This is one of those healthy items you would try and pretend it tastes good so you won’t look like an unsophisticated fat ass.  Well, you most definitely will not need to fake enjoying this delicious item.  It actually tastes nothing like zucchini, even though it’s packed with the stuff. With Big Mike’s special mix of herbs, spices, and freshly grated zucchini incorporated in his secret gluten free flour blend, this was one of my favorite items from the bakery. It was moist and just the right amount of sweet with hints of cinnamon.  To best describe it, just think of the best banana bread you’ve ever had and replace the banana with zucchini and times it by 100. This item is a MUST HAVE!

zucchini-bread
Zucchini Bread (Mini)

Next, we had a variety of cupcakes with prices ranging from ($3.50 – $3.95) each.  Again, I know you’re probably looking at the price and, thinking, “who in the hell is going to pay $4.00 for a damn cupcake?” I must admit, I was ignorantly thinking the same thing until I ate one of these suckers. My first was the Chocolate Fudge cupcake. This cupcake is made with 100% cocoa and served with an amazing buttercream icing.  The consistency was decadent, moist, and rich. As a chocolate lover, this cupcake surpassed every expectation as I quickly finished the entire thing.  A definite MUST HAVE for chocolate lovers.

chocolate-cupcake
Chocolate Cupcake

Following the chocolate cupcakes, I tried a Pineapple Upside Down Cupcake ($3.50) (PUDC). As an African-American, the elder women in my family made the most amazing Pineapple Upside Down Cakes baked with fresh pineapple rings around it. The PUDCs  were staples during Thanksgiving, Christmas and other special occasions. Big Mike captured the essence of my grandmother’s cake, with each bite bringing nostalgic memories of my increasingly distant childhood. The texture was soft and moist with a burst of buttery pineapple flavors.

vanilla-cupcake
Pineapple Upside Down Cupcake

I began to wonder if Big Mike was really a 90-year-old black grandmother who had switched bodies like in the awesome movie “The Skeleton Key.”  It just wasn’t making sense that this guy was able to capture the taste of my childhood, while staying loyal to his gluten free and organic policy. I figure his background of being ½ Italian gave him the best of both worlds growing up with both African-American and Italian grandmothers created some sort of culinary superpower, especially with his baking skills.

Looking at this sophisticated Martha Stewart looking cake, I requested a slice of his Lemon Bundt Cake ($6.95), a delicious pound cake served by the slice, and came a close second to the zucchini bread. Topped with a lemon-raspberry drizzle, this cake had an extraordinary tart/sweet balance that provided such a refreshing and satisfying taste.  The cake was moist, soft, and absolutely wonderful.  All Big Mike desserts give you the feeling of luxury. So if desserts were cars, all his items would be in the Bentley family.

zucchini-cake
Lemon Bundt Cake

Deciding to try something different, I asked for the Top of the Morning Bar ($3.95).  This bar is for the fitness enthusiast or someone who needs a quick pick me up for a morning jog or to deal with an asshole boss.  Yeah, this bar will definitely get your day started with its revitalizing ingredients including protein, carrots, zucchini, raisins, and other organic and natural properties for sustainable energy. The taste was excellent, leaving you with a lingering aftertaste that demands to be satisfied with another slice.

carrot-cake-cupcake
Top of the Morning Muffin

Next was the Red Velvet Cupcake ($3.50).  Everyone has red velvet something.  You honestly get tired of eating red velvet, because so many people do it wrong. As such, I am extremely particular as to who I will receive red velvet anything from.  There are some real culinary criminals out there who use unnatural measures to color their red velvet cakes.  Big Mike naturally flavors and colors his Red Velvet cakes with little influence on taste.  The taste remains chocolaty within its base, and immediately goes to a nutty, vanilla flavor producing an extraordinary balance.  I absolutely loved this red velvet cupcake.

red-velvet
Red Velvet Cupcake

Another amazing cupcake was the Carrot Cake Cupcake ($3.50).  Imagine the best carrot cake you ever had. Take that and create a cupcake out of it. That’s what this little devil taste like in a nutshell. I am in total amazement as to how Big Mike is able to capture the essence of some of our most memorable and loyal southern comfort foods, cakes, and desserts, miniaturize them, while somehow beating your memories one by one. I mean, if my grandma were alive—Big Mike would have to SEE her.  They would definitely be throwing hands.

carott-cake-cupcake-with-icicng
Carrot Cake Cupcake

How can a former NFL player and Harley Davidson Dealer, turn into a soon to be world renowned baker and restaurateur?   Big Mike accredits his delicious items to his unrelenting faith, and listening to what his customers want; which is why the bakery also serves food daily.

I visited the bakery and restaurant on the BBQ Rib days.  I ordered the rib dinner with a side of sweet potatoes ($12.95).  THE BEST RIBS IN SOUTH FLORIDA THUS FAR! I am telling no lie here.  I have eaten at food trucks, the BBQ stands on the side of the road, and NOBODY can touch Big Mike Ribs at this point.  I’m sure he will be outdone, but just not as yet.   These ribs were literally falling off the bone and had an amazing sauce. He seasons his ribs from his own house seasoning; starting with fresh ingredients and sea salt. The mashed sweet potatoes were so PERFECT I almost licked the plate.  I enjoyed a Kombucha drink ($4.00) that was also pretty good. But these ribs, for real were utterly delicious.

ribs-and-sweet-potato-best-picture
Rib Dinner with Kombucha (Before)

Coral Springs is like 45 minutes north for me, but I will take that trip faithfully, just to order a rack of these baby back ribs. He does other food items daily, like shrimp and grits, chicken pot pie, lasagna, and pizza that are mostly ORGANIC AND ALWAYS GLUTEN FREE.  As I ate the ribs, a customer came over and began asking about my blog and such. She began to explain to me how Big Mike’s restaurant has changed her life, as she uncontrollably, began shedding actual tears of joy.  Apparently, she too had Celiac’s disease and it had greatly affected her quality of life.

empty-plate
Rib Dinner After The Hungry Black Man

Big Mike gave her life in that she hadn’t had pasta, pizza, and cakes for over 15 years. She continued crying as I continued to eat my ribs listening to her moving story.  She also shared that her family would eat her food because it was so good; in disbelief that it was all gluten free and organic.

My last item, and fittingly so, was the DANGER BAR. You probably won’t believe me after what I’ve already said about the other desserts, but this was the BEST in the entire place, even beating out the zucchini bread. This bar had crushed chocolate chip cookies, melted chocolate, and a coconut topping with an amazing sauce topping it off. The best way to describe the taste is to think of an awesome brownie and a freshly made Almond Joy Bar who made it to heaven, God married them and mandated that they adopt chocolate chip cookies.  That family unit is what this bar tastes like.   I’m sorry, I ate the DANGER BAR to quickly for a picture and it happened to be his last one. Yeah, it was that good.

big-mike-cookies-in-cookie-jar
Homemade Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Hungry Black Man’s policy is to only write posts about eateries that are amazing.  We do not share bad reviews, because our intention is to curate positive experiences.  However, this place was very special for me in that BIG Mike is a family man, a man of faith and his customers and staff absolutely adore him.

big-mike-talking-with-customers
Big Mike and his “STRAW FIGHTING FAMILY” OF CUSTOMERS

I watched his positive interactions with customers, even at one point, engaging in a straw “fight” with a young boy and his family joining in on the fun.  Big Mike shared with our team his journey to opening his outstanding restaurant/bakery/heaven on earth. He has experienced great hardship that taught him the valuable lesson of honoring every day and appreciating the life he has.  Even more surprising was the diversity of his clientele.  As cameraman Korey and I sat for the review, the majority of Big Mike’s customers were Caucasian, which was even more positive, demonstrating he has broken racial barriers in delivery a superior product to everyone, no matter how you look. That is what The Hungry Black Man’s core mission is. Supporting diversity through the celebration of Black Food Innovation strengthens our entire Food ecosystem regardless of our differences!

His staff was super courteous, and knowledgeable. His chef assists him in developing the delicious meals served daily to his customers who praise this place to levels only Beyonce’s fans would understand. Great atmosphere, food, service, and healthy options allow me to provide my first 10 out of 10. This place literally has it all. I see this one going real far in the future. I have already made a trip back, and plan on many more.

Big Mike Bakery Address: 4602 Coral Ridge Dr, Coral Springs, FL 33076

Big Mike Phone: (954) 906-8580

Written by thehungryblackman

Starex Smith is an accomplished and experienced public administrator, fundraiser, foodie, and culinary business developer who has committed himself to maximizing the Black experience in the United States! He currently serves as Vice President of Strategy and Development for Black Tech Week with over twelve (12) years of experience in managing public/private partnerships, large scale events, and nonprofits. He has successfully raised over 20 million dollars in funding for various governmental entities, food companies, and individuals. Starex has assisted countless food industry businesses successfully obtain funding, taking mom and pop storefronts to scalable businesses. His success in working with restaurants sparked a passion for food and entrepreneurship which led to the launching of Sothern Bytes, a teaching platform food business dedicated to an ever evolving food industry with a focus on technology, culture and innovation. Having constantly run into stereotyping negatively affecting his dining and vacationing experiences, Starex decided to curate great destinations, restaurants, and discuss issues surrounding being a hungry Black man. Starex completed both his Bachelor’s and Master’s coursework in Public Administration at Florida International University where he served as president of the Black Student Union and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated, Lambda Tau Chapter

3 comments

  1. I am SO happy to see this! My Dad has worked so hard on his bakery and he is a true advocate for those living with Celiac disease. As a family that makes many memories in the kitchen, Celiac disease impacted us in a way we never prepared for. What a blessing your visit was for him and his staff, thank you for sharing your experience with the world!

    Like

    1. This is awesome! Going to send in a request to have it added to the Healthy Places app so more people can find this great place. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s