Strategic new locations. Innovative product introductions. New technology strategies and tools. All of these factors play heavily into the future success of retail bakeries in America.
Partner and head baker Avery Ruzicka is proud to announce the spring opening of Manresa Bread in Palo Alto’s Town & Country Village. The new location joins existing outposts in Los Gatos, Los Altos, and Campbell, California, and features new menu items and grab-and-go offerings. Designed by local Bay Area-firm Arcsine Architecture and Design, the Palo Alto bakery is open for takeaway daily from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. (or until sold out), with a menu including Ruzicka’s beloved house-milled sourdough breads, laminated pastries, entremets, quiches, sandwiches, seasonal salads and a robust coffee and tea menu. Manresa Bread merch, at-home baking kits, and curated retail selections round out the offerings.
Guests are encouraged to pre-order in advance for same-day pick-up, to avoid the disappointment of arriving to find their favorite croissant sold-out.
“We just made 6,000 kouign-amann in a month. It is wild to think this is our 7th year. The last two years have flown by,” Ruzicka says. “Every year is such a huge learning experience, and we learn different kinds of lessons.”
The opening is a return to Palo Alto, as Manresa Bread began selling bread at the California Avenue Farmers’ Market in 2013, cultivating a local following for Ruzicka’s loaves made with natural fermentation and house-milled, predominately local grains. The pandemic brought that to a close, and now Ruzicka celebrates welcoming those customers back.
“We’ve always had a soft spot for our regulars in Palo Alto who showed up at the farmers’ market week-after-week reaffirming their support for our thoughtful and specialized break-making,” says Ruzicka. “We’ve been waiting for the right space to open a brick-and-mortar bakery, and we are excited to be a part of Town & Country Village and the newest wave of retail outposts coming to this legacy destination.”
Adding to Ruzicka’s line-up of menu favorites are new offerings for Palo Alto, mainly in the entremets category. First to debut are a Mini Carrot Cake with Pineapple Jam ($12); specials like an Almond Rye Blueberry Tartlet ($9); and more to come. Highlights from the sandwich and toast offerings include a Bacon, Egg & Cheese Sandwich ($13); Jambon Beurre ($15); Salmon Toast ($15); and Biscuit and Jam ($7). Chia Pudding ($12) and Seasonal Salads ($14) make for easy grab-and-go options as well.
A selection of coffees made with custom Verve Coffee blends include classics as well as creative bread-inspired drinks like the Honey Cinnamon Latte and the Monkey Bread Latte—made with muscovado sugar slow-simmered for hours with cinnamon sticks—reminiscent of the often-sold-out Monkey Bread.
“We produce quite a lot for the size of team we have. We have about 70 total employees,” Ruzicka says. “How do we keep quality and consistency? We have an incredible team.”
Designed by Oakland-based Arcsine Architecture and Design, the 1,680-square-foot space allows customers to feel like they are walking into Ruzicka’s personal kitchen. The art of baking is on full display with as much visibility into the bread-making process possible throughout the space. A fluted white oak counter with textured white marble greets customers on arrival, while the deep blue tile along the bar wall adds warmth and movement to the naturally lit grab and go. The overall minimalistic design acts as a clean slate and lets the baked goods take center stage.
Architectural features such as the exposed ceiling beams recall the iconic unpainted homes of Sea Ranch, California. Hints of orange are found throughout the space and, along with the blue accents of the tile, recall Manresa Bread’s original logo palette.