EUGENE, Ore. — A new bakery on River Road is having some fun with its “dragon” oven.
Not Just Breads just celebrated its grand opening. They specialize in bread, and like the name, that’s not all. It’s also a cafe with espresso, a sweet treat bakery, and they offer a catering service.
“Our top three sellers are our macaroon, our Danish and our Ginger the Dragon cupcakes,” said Shawnna Schill.
On top of all that, there’s another big draw. It’s an oven painted like a dragon. It doesn’t breath fire, but it gets sizzling hot.
John Roberts is the owner, with 30 years of pastry experience. The dragon oven happened to come with the building nestled on River Road.
“The moment I opened it, it makes this noise. It kind of roared at me…Right away I knew this was going to be a dragon,” Roberts said.
It’s now named Ginger the Dragon.
“We now have a working art piece and we brought Eugene a dragon, in the year of the dragon,” Roberts said, referring to the name of the Chinese New Year.
It’s an oven large enough to keep up with commercial orders. Roberts is already working with local restaurants creating signature breads. Not Just Breads also has a kitchen designated for gluten-free bread and pastries.
Behind the massive dragon is a story most customers won’t see: the crew Roberts assembled. Four of the employees hired have developmental disabilities. Roberts previously worked with Oregon Supported Living Program.
“I can create a place for anybody to work. It’s big enough…where they can actually be useful and get some self esteem and a sense of pride,” Roberts said.
It’s a personal mission. His own grandson is autistic. Roberts hopes he’ll be working here someday making bread and sweets and feeding a dragon.
Not Just Breads is located at 645 River Road Suite 2, Eugene, Oregon 97404.