Top 5 Bakeries in Santa Cruz County
1. Kelly’s French Bakery
In the Swift Street Courtyard
849 Almar Ave Suite C, Santa Cruz
Hours: Open daily from 7am to 7pm
Just off Mission Street on the Westside of Santa Cruz is Kelly’s French Bakery. Owners Kelly and Mark Sanchez have been creating tempting baked goods since 1981 when they opened in the Courtyard Commons (later destroyed in the 1989 earthquake) and in their current Swift Street location since 2003. Both studied and worked in France, refining their pastry and bread-making talents before bringing their artisan baking to Santa Cruz. Celebrated for their toothsome francese and whole wheat (compagnon) sour dough breads, Kelly’s serves an impressive array of breakfast items as well as sandwiches, soups and baked delights that will keep you coming back again and again. In fact, weekends find it filled with cyclists and hikers either returning from or embarking upon adventures in nearby Wilder Ranch, fortifying themselves with a hearty quiche, fish tacos, or Panini while others stop by for the ollieberry tart, éclair au chocolat or macaroons and a café aulait. Kelly’s is renowned for ‘delicious food, fantastic baked goods and the best coffee in the world’ and now also serves their own handcrafted ice cream. Their breads and pastries can also be found in numerous local markets.
2. The Buttery Café & Bakery
702 Soquel Avenue, Santa Cruz
Hours: 7am to 7pm
The Buttery Café & Bakery in Midtown Santa Cruz has been creating incredible cakes for every occasion since owner Janet Platin first opened her doors in 1984. In the same location for 33 years, every item served at The Buttery is made in-house, with the exception of their artisanal breads, which are baked off-site in Watsonville by Janet’s husband’s company, Golden Sheaf. Locally sourced, seasonal, flavorful ingredients are the cornerstone of their small-batch recipes. Their café menu offers “an incredible selection of all things delicious, from the refreshingly healthy to the ultimate comfort food.” Breakfast sandwiches, Huevos Rancheros, French toast and housemade granola are breakfast favorites. Hot pastrami, grilled ham & cheese, curried chicken salad and The Buttery Cobb are just a few of the many luncheon items available. The Buttery also serves croissants, brioche, danishes, muffins, and scones, pies, tarts, cookies and cakes, all made fresh daily. Their bread menu is equally remarkable with Sourdough, German rye, francese and Italiano, baguettes and buns. After 33 years, The Buttery continues to be a time-honored favorite among Santa Cruz residents and tourists lucky enough to discover this treasure.
3. Companion Bakeshop
2341 Mission Street, Santa Cruz
Hours: Tuesday-Friday 7am to 5pm
Saturday & Sunday 8am to 3pm
Companion Bakery got its start in 2006 when owner and baker, Erin, sold her hearty sourdough bread at local farmer’s markets. In 2010, owners and newlyweds Erin and Jeremy opened the doors to Companion Bakery on Mission Street in Westside Santa Cruz. It has grown from 2 to 20 employees, thanks to the couple’s perfect partnership, Companion’s incredible baked goods, coffee and loyal customers. Companion Bakery is just that: a bakery. They focus on what they do best, creating other worldly breads and pastries. Companion has three types of bread: Boules, loaves and baguettes. And of those are multiple varieties from which to choose, their legendary sourdough holding court in each. Both sweet and savory scones and gallettes, tea cakes, cookies and croissants offer customers a dizzying variety. Customers can also grab their favorite coffee, be it an espresso, macchiato or pour over. Very soon, you’ll also find Companion Bakery in Abbott Square. The bakeshop will be teaming up with Cat and Cloud to provide their baked goods in the new downtown public market.
4. Gayle’s Bakery and Rosticceria
504 Bay Ave. Capitola
Hours: Open Daily 6:30am to 8:30pm
Gayle’s Bakery and Rosticceria serves fresh breads, sandwiches, cakes and pastries. Gayle’s has been creating incredible cakes for weddings, birthdays and special occasions for all of their 36 years. All of their cakes are “made from the finest ingredient such as farm fresh eggs, sweet butter, pure vanilla, rich chocolate, the best imported flavors, real liqueurs and the freshest fruits.” Handmade pies, tartes, brownies, éclairs, tiramisu, and cheesecake, plus cookies of all types are just some of the confectionary indulgences found at Gayle’s. Though known for their baked goods, Gayle’s also serves oven-roasted meats and pastas as part of their rosticerria. Their Blue Plate Dinners have found a faithful following among those looking for great food without the fuss of preparation or having to dine out. The menus vary every month and you can call in your order for take out or enjoy your meal on Gayle’s cozy covered patio. Gayle’s also has a convenient grab & go as well as salads and sandwiches.
5. The Farm Bakery & Café
6790 Soquel Drive, Aptos
Hours: Open daily 7am to 6:30pm
Friday through Sunday 7am to 6pm
The Farm Bakery & Café serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in their charming Aptos location. A local favorite since 1976, The Farm, as their name suggests, is all about healthy, organic, fresh ingredients and scratch-made foods. Nitrate-free bacon, Glaum eggs, fresh fruit and produce, Diestel turkey and organic grass-fed beef are found throughout The Farm’s food items. Their sandwich menu is diverse, offering something for meat eaters and vegetarians alike and the breakfast items are simple yet hearty and bursting with flavors. The Farm’s fruit tart is legendary, with its flakey shortbread crust, sweet cream cheese filling and gorgeous mosaic of fresh berries, kiwi and seasonal fruits. Cheesecakes, chocolate truffles, cookies and other tantalizing tarts round out the dessert menu. They also bake a variety of fresh breads daily. The charming location offers indoor and outdoor patio seating and has a gift shop that rivals many boutiques with its selection of jewelry, children’s toys, home décor and body care items.
Santa Cruz County is brimming with bakeries offering artisan breads, incredible pastries, cakes and cookies as well as gourmet sandwiches, soups and hearty menu items. If you haven’t been to any one of these five fabulous finds, we urge you to go on a baked good adventure and give Kelly’s French Bakery, The Buttery, Companion Bakeshop, Gayle’s Bakery and The Farm a visit.
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