There are a lot of choices on the long display counter at Manhattan Jack (4930 Prytania St., 504-357-2003; www.manhattanjack.com), a new bakery and cafe in Uptown. If you don't see something that grabs you right away, it pays to linger a while. That's because at regular intervals, owners Jack Petronella or Coleman Jernigan emerge from the kitchen with a baking sheet of something hot from the oven that might do the trick.
Small-batch baking and a highly varied repertoire are two calling cards for this new spot, where two dozen different breads and pastries share the bill with candies, sweets and coffee. Buttermilk drops, doughnuts, biscuits, macaroons, cupcakes, croissants and crawfish pies are all part of the program, and bagels are a particular specialty.
Manhattan Jack is an open and modern-looking spot with a long, communal table in the center, easy chairs up front, local art on the walls and usually some customers working on laptops and drinking coffee. The shop recently added a menu of classic sandwiches including Reubens, Cubans, clubs, French dips, Monte Cristos and croque monsieurs. Petronella says they plan to add more plated desserts on Friday and Saturday nights to serve as an after-dinner destination for patrons of nearby restaurants. Manhattan Jack opens at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday.