The day before its grand opening on July 13, Garrett McPerry shapes sourdough loaves with his head baker while his wife and partner Lauren Rosen coaches front-of-house staff on customer service. The lines are already stacking at Tommy & Atticus, McPerry and Rosen’s yearslong journey to opening a full-fledged bakery in the South Bay, and the early results are already spectacular. Local dog walkers, curious passersby, and family friends are stoked with McPerry’s pastry case, chock-full of seasonal stone fruit and berry galettes, buttery croissants, crumbly cookies, and sugary kouign amann.
Farther down the counter, dark brown loaves of country bread, seeded boules, baguettes, and pan bread sit ready to be sliced or torn into from carb-craving patrons. This is the South Bay’s most impressive new bakery, born from years of baking at their former Brentwood apartment.
McPerry’s first career was as a certified public accountant, but while he was crunching numbers, he was dreaming of baking. McPerry started baking in 2016 while working 70-plus hours a week as a CPA. He would prep dough and then bake one or two days a week, delivering loaves around town. After two years of juggling the two gigs, Rosen, who still works full-time at a tech company, encouraged him to dive in. “She told me ‘You’re thinking about bread all the time. The time to do it is now. We don’t have children, we don’t have debts.’ And if it didn’t work out, my plan B could always be accounting,” said McPerry. What a fallback plan to have, one that he probably won’t need anymore.
But before he could open his own bakery, McPerry knew he needed more professional training, showing up to stage at Venice’s highly-regarded Gjusta in 2019 working under Travis Lett and Jose Mateo. After a year as a baker at Gjusta, McPerry was furloughed at the onset of the pandemic and filed for a cottage license to legally sell bread out of his home. McPerry and Rosen went all-in on guerrilla marketing in Brentwood, distributing flyers and going door-to-door to help develop a following. Growing up in San Diego, McPerry was always drawn to the South Bay for its community and more casual beach vibes. McPerry and Rosen found a home just a few blocks from this Redondo Beach strip mall and envisioned it as a bakery.
McPerry’s approach to baking isn’t too complicated. Just get the best ingredients, make them properly, and lean on seasonal farmers market produce whenever possible. The results are something that competes with LA’s other high-end bakeries like Tartine, République, Proof, Gjusta, and Friends and Family. McPerry’s satisfying pastries are expertly constructed and ooze with quality. The bakery uses Central Milling’s top-level flours, French butter, and in-season produce. Sandwiches, like a vegetarian one with feta, tomatoes, and cucumbers, or a ham with cheese, are straightforward but tasty. Tommy & Atticus is the modern bakery that Redondo Beach and the South Bay as a whole has sorely lacked.
The two landed on a strip mall space in Redondo Beach along Aviation Boulevard. The 3,000-square-foot space was bigger than what McPerry wanted, but the footprint allowed him to take over a former Italian American restaurant and create a capacity to accommodate a considerable demand. And that demand might be there given the excellence of his bread and pastries, as well as the enthusiasm of his team.
At Gjusta, there wasn’t much opportunity for McPerry to offer his own insight. That’s different with Tommy & Atticus, which he named after his two sourdough starters. McPerry is open to feedback from both inside and out, encouraging his staff to offer improvements or innovations to the offerings. And for customers, there’s a QR code on the big communal table for anonymous suggestions.
For now, the only suggestions this writer could think of are an expanded lunch menu of sandwiches and salads, and maybe even a dinner option. But McPerry doesn’t think they’ll expand the savory options very much, except for a sourdough pizza of the day, and a standalone pizza night once a week. “We have this great oven and it stays hot, so we figured we’d do pizza nights,” he says. Otherwise, Tommy & Atticus is a daytime affair, open Wednesday to Sunday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
While the formula is fixed, McPerry and Rosen have clearly calculated with a great community vibe, excellent pastries, and approachable pricing, and the results are one of the South Bay’s best new bakeries.
Tommy & Atticus is located at 1700 Aviation Boulevard, Redondo Beach, CA 90278.