La Brea Bakery is no more — at least not in a retail cafe sense. 34 years after opening on its namesake La Brea Boulevard (in what is today a portion of République’s space), the Nancy Silverton and Mark Peel-founded bread company has closed its physical locations to move entirely into the wholesale and grocery retail game, save for a few lingering airport branding deals. That means that while there will no longer be traditional storefronts for the company, the famous lowercase-B logo with the loaf in the middle will still be available on store shelves nationwide.
The last La Brea Bakery cafe locations closed on January 9, with the company saying goodbye to the group’s flagship corner cafe at La Brea and Sixth Street, as well as a decades-old outlet in Downtown Disney in Anaheim. “We are so thankful and hold a tremendous amount of appreciation for our employees, and for our customers who have frequented La Brea Bakery Café over the years,” says Tyson Yu, CEO, in a now-public press release. “Our flagship Café location on La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles is where the La Brea Bakery magic started 34 years ago. These humble beginnings are an integral part of the brand history, and we will forever be grateful to the local community for their support over the years.”
The 1989 arrival of La Brea Bakery was a seminal moment for California. Silverton — a native Angeleno who was at the time handling the desserts at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago while partner Mark Peel worked the line — helped to spread awareness of sourdough and artisan baking that had previously only existed in somewhat smaller pockets of California, mostly in the San Francisco Bay Area. La Brea Bakery eventually became synonymous with quality bread across the nation, even after Silverton sold the company in 2001 for a reported $79 million.
The new owners relocated the original La Brea Bakery cafe (then part of the Campanile space) just up the street to a new location in 2013, paving the way for Walter and Margarita Manzke’s own bakery and restaurant, République, not long after. Today the company is operated by Aspire Bakeries, which also owns Otis Spunkmeyer as well as other brands. As for the Downtown Disney location, that will eventually be demolished as part of a significant overhaul, quite literally paving the way for a future Porto’s.