We all have our guilty pleasures when it comes to food and if you’re anything like us then carbs (pastries, breads, sweets, you name it!) are usually at the top of our list. These days grocery stores have replaced traditional bakeries when it comes to finding these tasty treats. Whether you’re looking for a buttery croissant, gluten-free eat, or fresh baked bread without the preservatives, there are traditional bakeries in every neighborhood to satisfy your craving. And, lucky for you, swimsuit season is a couple months away so go ahead, treat yourself (and your kiddos) to a mouth-watering treat…or two.
Bicycle Bread Company (photographed above)
Stephen and Ben Gordon, who hail from Gainesville Florida, missed the delicious bread their Mom used to make for the family brood of 11 kids. Milling their own whole-wheat flour from scratch, the brothers have replicated their beloved recipes, producing fresh healthy varieties they now sell to an underserved neighborhood. Using honey which helps extend the shelf life, Bicycle Bread produces 3 flavors each week – honey wheat, oregano basil and cinnamon raisin – plus a unique choice that ranges from spicy jalapeno cheddar to exotic coconut chocolate. Pickups are available one evening a week by advance order and they will delivery locally, as reserved ahead.
1840 South Union Avenue
Los Angeles, Ca 90015
Thursday pick-ups 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm, Wednesday deliveries (by reservation only)
Launched by Father Greg Boyle in response to the 1992 LA riots, Homeboy Bakery was the first enterprise of non-profit Homeboy Industries, whose mission is “jobs, not jail.” The bakery offers homemade baked goods to the community, while providing training and work experience to gang members and at-risk young adults. All tasty treats are sold out of their downtown base and daily at farmer’s markets from Sylmar to the South Bay.
130 West Bruno Street
Los Angeles, Ca 90012
Monday 7:00 am -1:30 pm, Tuesday-Friday 7:00 am – 3:00 pm, Saturday 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, Closed Sundays
La Brea Bakery
This is one that started the trend. Adjacent to celebrated restaurant Campanile, in a historic landmark building in Hollywood, the original La Brea Bakery invites the passersby to sample the rustic rounds for which made its named. While a vast variety of their specialty breads, rolls and granolas are available at Whole Foods, Gelson’s, Ralph’s and Pavilions throughout the city, it still smells-and tastes-better here at the source.
624 South La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles, Ca 90036
Monday-Friday 7:30 am – 6:00 pm, Saturday 8:00 am – 6:00 pm, Sunday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Using traditional Mexican recipes, La Monarca handcrafts daily selections of artisan breads and pan dulce at its three sites in Huntington Park, East LA and Santa Monica. The biscuits are simultaneously flaky and cake-like, while the Mexican corn bread will satisfy the hungriest appetite.
6365 Pacific Boulevard
Huntington Park, Ca 90255
Daily 7:00 am – 9:00 pm
5700 East Whittier Boulevard
Commerce, Ca 90022
Daily 6:00 am – 9:00 pm
1300 Wilshire Boulevard
Santa Monica, Ca 90403
Daily 6:00 am – 8:00 pm
Recently relocated from its longtime locale in Beverly Hills, Maison Richard (formerly Michel Richard) specializes in “Viennoiseries,” French breakfast rolls. Flaky croissants sidle up to crusty baguettes, with raisin bread, almond brioche and apricot rolls sure to delight sleepy-eyed kids. Everything is baked fresh on the premises, with special animal-shaped breads available upon request.
707 North Stanley Avenue
Los Angeles, Ca 90046
Monday-Saturday 9:00 am – 10:00 pm, Sunday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Music biz vet Barbara Mondrine acquired LA Bread in 2009 to open The Village Bakery in Atwater Village. Serving a wholesale trade in the surrounding areas, the neighborhood eatery produces classic favorites such as raisin walnut, rosemary and brioche as well as seasonal specialties like pumpkin and roasted red pepper loaves.
3119 Los Feliz Boulevard
Atwater Village, Ca 90039
Sunday-Monday 8:00 am – 3:00 pm, Tuesday-Friday 8:00 am – 7:00 pm, Saturday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Baked on Ocean View
Formerly Oven Fresh Bakery, family-owned Baked on Ocean View in Montrose has updated their offerings to cater to their changing clientele. Baked boasts housemade challah, jalapeno cheddar and caramelized onion & cheese, in addition to French and sourdough baguettes. Enjoy their kalamata olive & sundried tomato loaf for a savory-sweet sensation. Baked tries new mixtures regularly, so call or stop by to see what’s on the seasonal menu. They spend Sundays at the Montrose Harvest Market on nearby Honolulu Avenue.
3600 Ocean View Boulevard, #7
Montrose, Ca 91208
Tuesday-Saturday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sundays at Famer’s Market, Closed Mondays
San Fernando Valley residents have patronized this Tarzana mainstay for over 54 years. Situated by the 101 Freeway near Reseda and Ventura Boulevards, Bea’s Bakery offers at least six types of homemade challahs and five kinds of rye bread, including corn rye with or without seeds. Perfect for Shabbat dinner or an Easter brunch or an afterschool snack. Special order their cocktail rye – mini loaves ideal for canapés, hors d’oeuvres or your little ones tea party with their dolls.
18450 Clark Street
Tarzana, Ca 91356
Monday-Saturday 7:00 am – 8:30 pm, Sunday 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
Warm bread straight from the oven, spread with sweet creamy butter is a taste treat for tots, as local “professional loafers” Chris & Patricia Diaz of Great Harvest understand. Stop in between 9:00 am and 11:00 am to savor a hot one of the seven daily varieties, made with freshly ground 100% whole-wheat flour, milled in-house. The community-minded owners will arrange kids’ group bakery tours, complete with wheat seed souvenirs to grow their own wheatgrass at home!
1019 Mission Street
South Pasadena, Ca 91030
Monday-Friday 7:00 am – 5:00 pm, Saturday 7:00 am – 4:00 pm, Sunday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
(Note: Everything is made fresh on the premises, yet Great Harvest is a franchise, with its next closest branch in Thousand Oaks.)
Started in 1960 when the Proto family emigrated from Cuba, Porto’s has served the city of Glendale for over half a century. Additional locations in Burbank and Downey also carry the Cuban bolillos, flautas and galletas that built Porto’s reputation. They create holiday offerings, such pain de muerto for Day of the Dead and rosca de Pascua available during the week of Easter. Check shop hours for holiday variations.
315 North Brand Boulevard
Glendale, Ca 91203
Monday-Saturday 6:30 am – 7:00 pm, Sunday 7:00 am – 5:30 pm
3614 West Magnolia Boulevard
Burbank, Ca 91505
Monday-Saturday 6:30 am – 7:30 pm, Sunday 7:00 am – 6:00 pm
8233 Firestone Boulevard
Downey, Ca 90241
Monday-Saturday 7:00 am – 8:30 pm, Sunday 7:00 am – 6:00 pm
Olive bread rolls, French ficelle, and sourdough boules are a few of the regular offerings from this Brentwood mainstay. Lines form early morning to grab the sesame seed-coated multigrain loaves – best to reserve in advance to avoid disappointment. Their pull-apart onion roll is fun for pint-sized patrons, the sweet buttery egg bread complemented by lightly seasoned scallions. No doubt about where the breads are baked: watch it pulled from the glass-lined ovens just behind the display counters. (Note: the owners sold the Studio City location in 2001, though it still bears the moniker.)
11825 Barrington Court
Brentwood, Ca 90049
Monday-Friday 6:00 am – 7:00 pm, Saturday 6:00 am – 6:00 pm, Sunday 7:00 am – 4:00 pm
An American twist on the classic French boulangerie, Breadbar celebrates the simplicity of this staple, surrounding it with bistro food and wine as complements. Step up to the counter at their Century City locale and choose from the daily assortment of a dozen or more: try a chocolate baguette as a morning toddler treat, handcrafted raisin rye or old-style pain de mie (white sandwich loaf). The wholesale Bakestudio in El Segundo also sells to walk-in customers.
10250 Santa Monica Boulevard
Century City, Ca 90067
Monday-Thursday 8:00 am – 9:00 pm, Friday-Saturday 8:00 am – 10:00 pm, Sunday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
701 E. El Segundo Boulevard
El Segundo, Ca 90245
Monday-Friday 7:30 am – 3:00 pm, Sat 7:30 am – 12:00 pm Closed Sundays
Le Pain du Jour
Le Pain du Jour has been serving up no-frills authentic French boules and baguettes since the mid 1990s. The petite rustic bakery is bare basics, housing ovens and a small counter, where SaMoHi students and early risers can get coffee and a buttery croissant before beating the beach traffic on the nearby 10 freeway. A wider choice of breads is on display at their Hawthorne locale, now their central baking facility.
828 Pico Boulevard, #2
Santa Monica, Ca 90405
Wednesday-Sunday 7:30 am – 1:00 pm
13528 Inglewood Avenue
Hawthorne, Ca 90250
Monday-Friday 7:00 am – 8:00 pm, Saturday 7:00 am – 6:00 pm, Sunday 7:00 am – 5:00 pm
You’ve likely driven past this bakery many times, yet its five years since owner/baker Jose Ramirez opened his small storefront in Culver City, named for his son; locals know it’s the freshest bread in town. Cordon Bleu-trained Ramirez handcrafts each loaf on the premises, including mainstays sourdough, wheat, multigrain and salted pretzel sticks. He experiments regularly with new flavors and is always willing to give customers, particularly kiddies, a sampling of his latest creation. Call ahead to order or reserve your favorite. And be sure to bring cash – no checks or credit accepted.
10804 Washington Boulevard
Culver City, Ca 90232
Monday-Friday 7:00 am – 7:00 pm, Saturday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sunday 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Manhattan Bread & Bagel
Boiling bagels in 1992 and baking bread since 1994, Manhattan Bread supplies artisanal loaves throughout the South Bay. The storefront opens at the crack of dawn, infusing the airy retail space with enticing smells. Sweet nut breads, including zucchini, banana and pumpkin, will tempt kiddies, alongside traditional bagels and bialys. Grab a loaf of kalamata olive or fresh sourdough for tonight’s dinner.
1812 North Sepulveda Boulevard
Manhattan Beach, Ca 90266
Monday-Friday 5:00 am – 6:00 pm, Saturday-Sunday 5:00 am – 4:00 pm
These Santa Monica sister bakeries, on the same street roughly a mile apart, focus on rustic breads yet differ in daily assortments. Chef/owner Zoe Nathan concocts new combinations of various grains, with an emphasis on the freshest market ingredients. Little kids will love the homemade bagels and cheesy wheat rolls. Pick up a loaf of the lemon & thyme or green olive bread at Milo + Olive for your next picnic at the park. Or try a classic country boule from Huckleberry for more finicky friends.
2723 Wilshire Boulevard
Santa Monica, Ca 90403
Daily 7:00 am – 11:00 pm
1014 Wilshire Boulevard
Santa Monica, Ca 90404
Tuesday-Friday 8:00 am – 7:00 pm, Saturday-Sunday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, Closed Mondays
Red Rooster Bakery
Red Rooster is the central bakery for chef Bruce Marder’s quartet of restaurants (Capo, Cora’s Coffee Shoppe, Brentwood Restaurant & Lounge and House). Opened in June 2011, Red Rooster brings Marder’s time-honored recipes to retail customers, who are treated to the inner workings of the bake space at this tiny spot. Daily overflow changes yet youngsters will likely find a sweet scone or pain au chocolat amidst the homemade boiled bagels, olive and sourdough breads. Take a short stroll through the kitchen to an alley table to enjoy a coffee with your freshly grated onion bialy. Special orders are welcome.
1013 Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica, Ca 90405
Monday-Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sunday 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Food allergies can be a drag, especially for little ones. Gluten-free, dairy- and casein-free bread lovers can take solace that Rising Hearts will capture theirs. Open seven days a week, with numerous vegan and soy-free options too, Rising Hearts (formerly The Sensitive Baker) makes over 30 savory varieties. Regardless of a dietary restriction, enjoy the rice, sorghum and teff baguettes, six flavors of bagels and three kinds of delicious breadsticks. Bake-at-home choices include “challah” rolls (made with rice flour) and vegan, gluten-free oat loaf. A rotating list of sweets will also satisfy kiddos of all ages, with moon pies and non-dairy “buttercream” cupcakes that rival the real thing. And everything’s kosher, too!
10836½ Washington Boulevard
Culver City, Ca 90232
Monday-Saturday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, Sunday 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Award-winning chef/restaurant Hans Röckenwagner’s latest venture is arguably his most accessible and decidedly kid-friendly. His Westside bakeries – in Mar Vista, Santa Monica and Venice – fall stock his signature pretzel baguettes rolls and croissants; each has varying daily selections, among them honey whole wheat, Rudolph Steiner, Five-grain and brioche. For a quick pick-me-up, savor the poppy seed cheese twists, with or without bacon. Röckenwagner’s array of baked goods can also be found at farmer’s markets all over town.
12835 Washington Boulevard
Mar Vista, Ca 90066
Monday-Wednesday 7:00 am – 3:00 pm, Thursday-Sunday 7:00 am – 4:00 pm
311 Arizona Avenue
Santa Monica, Ca 90401
Monday-Saturday 7:30 am – 6:00 pm, Sunday 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
3 Square Bakery
1211 Abbot Kinney
Venice, Ca 90291
Daily 6:30 am – 6:00 pm
Worth a Drive
Sunflour Natural Bakery
Vegan and Kosher with no dairy, processed sugars, preservatives or artificial anything, Sunflour breads are delivered fresh to area markets daily. The main production bakery sells to walk-ins, with the selection depending upon the day’s wholesale orders. Customers can phone ahead to set aside a favorite, like spelt, buttermilk or dark squaw made with molasses.
2950 Grace Lane
Costa Mesa, Ca 92626
Monday, Wednesday-Friday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, Tuesday 9:00 am -1:00 pm, closed weekends
–Kim Orchen Cooper