.Manresa Bread Comes to the Westside

Avery Ruzicka’s scrumptious pastries and organic sourdough continue to gain popularity as she readies to open another spot in Santa Cruz—and Los Gatos

Welcome to the newest Manresa Bread store, opening Nov. 7 in a petit 300 square-foot facility at 330 Ingalls St. between the Surf City wineries and New Leaf Market. The newest in the Manresa Bread ecosystem is being detailed as I speak to founder Avery Ruzicka, who just happens to live a few blocks from the new home of outrageous pastries, renowned breads and ultimately some irresistible grab-and-go items.

“I’m so excited, because I live on the Westside,” says Ruzicka, who admits that she “likes to stay busy.” Those of us who have either made the drive over the hill to Los Gatos to snap up some of Manresa’s impeccable breads, or who have become addicted to the carrot spice muffins, almond croissants and kouign Amann have reason to rejoice.

Ruzicka, whose bakery idea was born in chef David Kinch’s 3-star Michelin kitchen, has grown the organic-intensive bakery into five Bay Area locations in the past eight years. All the Manresa baking is done in one large commissary, and then quickly distributed to the brick-and-mortar shops as well as retail outlets at 5pm each morning. “We make all of our products overnight and into the early morning,” she says. “And it makes sense for us to be on the Westside because we already deliver to Verve and to Venus—and also just because I love the Westside.”

Open daily from 8am until 3pm (or until sold out), the latest Manresa spot will also offer fresh-from-the-oven levain loaf, sourdough baguettes and 100% whole wheat loaf, all made from Manresa-milled flour.

“It’s gonna be great,” Ruzicka predicts. “As the year evolves, there will be seasonal specials. We always have our mainstays, but the pastries will change on a seasonal, typically quarterly basis.”

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The energetic entrepreneur will be on hand personally at the new store. But she’s also in the midst of opening a new store in downtown Los Gatos, “right across from the movie theater and the Apple store.” For the new Santa Cruz store on Ingalls, “it will be a grab-and-go situation. In the spring we’ll probably expand into breakfast sandwiches, and other savories. But not yet, just because of all the things in front of us right now. Can’t do everything at once,” she says with a chuckle.

Ruzicka says her personal favorite Manresa Bread is the 100% whole wheat sourdough. “You know, we mill our own flour, so that’s something I’m really proud of,” she says. “My team does such a beautiful job with the fermentation. It has a beautiful tender crumb, and it’s not too dense like so many whole wheat breads. I just love that a lot.”

Goodbyes and Hellos

Auf wiedersehen to Tyrolean Inn, for 47 years a touch of Bavaria under the redwoods in Ben Lomond. I’ve consumed many plates of Schnitzel and potatoes up there. Perhaps its day was done … I’m not surprised that Malik Williams has closed his Aptos eatery so quickly, given the exorbitant prices and turquoise risotto. Such a shame to see hard work and money down the drain … The Alderwood group plans to open something new in the former Snap Taco space, as well as more Flashbirds up in Scotts Valley and out at Pleasure Point to match the one they’ve got serving fried chicken sandos in Abbott Square. Love the Flower Bar’s croissants, btw (yup, they’re part of the Alderwood empire, too).

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