Matt Crowley/The AS Review

Been to Miller Market recently? Notice anything new? Although construction is far from over on Miller Hall, the addition of one of Bellingham’s favorite eateries, Avenue Bread, has been a pleasant surprise for students this quarter who might be growing tired of the Sodexo-produced offerings found throughout campus.

Avenue’s fourth and newest location opened April 11 and features sandwiches, salads, snacks and pastries not found anywhere else on campus, from turkey pesto sandwiches to house salads and cream cheese Danishes. Avenue Bread joins the Haggard Hideaway and Man Pies as new vendors looking to give students delicious and fresh food options. Avenue prides itself on not only the quality of its food but the process of making it as well. Local ingredients, from Happy Valley sprouts to Pleasant Valley Farms pickles, constitute significant portions of Avenue’s offerings.

Sustainability is an important part of Avenue’s ideology as well. Aside from using local ingredients to reduce the environmental impacts of transportation, it also utilizes biodegradable packaging and has long been a user of the Sanitary Service Company’s FoodPlus! program. This allows Avenue to keep its compostable and biodegradable waste and scraps away from landfills. The company also has a history of supporting the Bellingham community, donating bread and pastries to local food banks, soup kitchens, schools and other organizations whenever it can.

Although Avenue’s practices certainly make you feel good about supporting it, you’ll feel even better after your first bite. Although the new Miller Market location is missing some of Avenue’s most cherished dining options (Eggenues!), there are plenty of options available to keep you coming back for more.

It really is hard to find something on the menu that isn’t delicious. My personal favorite, the turkey pesto, is good not only because of the selection of ingredients (After all, it is pretty hard to screw up anything with pesto in it.), but because of the fresh, crisp quality of every piece of bread, turkey and lettuce that goes into it. The same rings true for all of Avenue’s sandwiches. An otherwise simple ham and cheese sandwich is taken up a couple notches by the fresh-baked bread and delicious ham provided by Ferndale’s own Hempler’s B.B. Meat & Sausage. Outside of any of Avenue’s four locations, a sandwich is just a sandwich. But once you’ve entered the world crafted by owners Wendy and John DeFreest, it gets even better and absolutely justifies the extra couple dollars you’ll shell out to try it.

While the sandwiches are the main attraction, the selection of pastries cannot be ignored either. The pesto and goat cheese twist (I’m a sucker for pesto, sue me.) expertly combines the two flavors in a soft, flaky bread that tastes as if it was made-to-order. Again, the freshness that makes Avenue’s sandwiches so good also takes its pastries to another level. Sorry, Starbucks.

While the departure of El Cápitan’s from Vendors Row was sad day for student foodies across Bellingham, the university has more than made up for it with the addition of not only some of the best eateries on campus, but in Bellingham, period.