The Naked Elm

The Naked Elm, a newish bakery and café in Blue Mounds, Wisconsin, has gotten a lot of love over at recently.

A couple weeks ago, the Wisconsin State Journal ran this feature by Chris Martell, accompanied online by a photo gallery from John Hart. The piece introduces readers to proprietors Biggie Lemke and Matt Heindl who bake bagels, bialys, bread, and pizzas in a 20,000-pound, wood-burning oven that Heindl built. As the WSJ reports, “The bakery gets its name because much of the fuel for the oven comes from elm trees killed by Dutch Elm disease.” The story is nicely written and worth checking out.

Apparently the same can be said for the food. According to Stephanie Bedford’s recent review in 77 Square, the full range of locals and visitors are enjoying the arrival of this new bakery. As she describes, “pizzas topped with pesto and chard were picked up by takeout customers in well-worn overalls and head-to-toe hunting camo. This harmonious blend of cosmopolitan and deeply local is reflected in the Naked Elm’s menu. Local and seasonal produce abounds, as well as locally made cheeses and cured meats, making the notion of a ‘locavore diet’ seem less like a restriction and more like a glorious smorgasbord…. On two visits, I sampled four different varieties [of pizza], and with each bite fell more deeply head over heels for the Naked Elm.” For the details, including some helpful tips for planning ahead if you’re going to make the 30-minute drive from Madison to Blue Mounds, give the full review a read.

UPDATED 05/02/2012: reports that The Naked Elm “has closed for the for the forseeable [sic] future. Lemke and Heindl built a 20,000-lb. wood-fired oven to make pizzas, breads and pastries. When the pair split, Lemke was unable to come to an agreement with the owners of the building (Heindl’s parents) about a lease.”

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