Posts Tagged ‘bakery’

Anders Karlsson – Berolina Bakery

March 25, 2010

Anders Karlsson of Berolina Bakery in Glendale, CARestaurateur Profile: Anders Karlsson

Owner: Berolina Bakery

3421 Ocean View Blvd
Glendale, California 91208

Yelp: 3.5 stars

Interview Date: Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Berolina Bakery originally opened in the 1960s, and was purchased by Anders and Youna Karlsson in 1991, at which time the updated the entire operation. “We replaced everything in the kitchen, except for maybe that fridge!” says Anders, pointing to a large refrigerator holding the bakery’s specialty cakes: Princess Cakes.

Originally from Sweden, Anders says his primary motivation for moving here was the weather. “I was working at a McDonald’s and then got offered a position as a bakery apprentice,” he says. “The 4 a.m. start times were hard, especially because in Sweden it is very cold most of the time, but I got used to it.” The weather in Southern California is, obviously, milder.

As owner of Berolina Bakery, Anders has arranged his schedule so that he starts work mid-day, which is a better fit for him. His wife and co-owner Youna, who is originally from Belgium, takes the morning shift. “This is a bakery, so there is someone here 24 hours a day,” he says.

Berolina Bakery is first and foremost a bakery, but that delicious bread makes a great sandwich, so it does a brisk café business as well. In addition to sandwiches and Panini, the bakery’s café also offers salads along with a delicious selection of European pastries and gourmet coffee. Berolina Bakery recently added Belgium waffles to its Friday and Saturday breakfast menu, which has been a big hit.

The restaurant has been serving breakfast and lunch for many years, but about 3 years ago, the city of Glendale widened the sidewalk, which allowed Berolina Bakery to add about 10 tables and greatly expand its serving capacity.

Anders says that the best part of owning Berolina Bakery is the freedom of being an entrepreneur. The bakery and restaurant are closed on Sunday and Monday, which allows Anders and Youna to have a (mostly) 5-day workweek. Of course, the flip side of ownership is that “you have to always be prepared for ‘the call’ when something goes wrong or someone needs something,” says Anders. With employees working around the clock, that call can come in at any time.

Berolina Bakery has about 15 employees, and most have grown up in the Glendale area, which includes La Crescenta and La Canada. “I’m more of a laid back manager,” says Anders. “I like to have people learn how to make their own decisions as much as possible.”

Expansion plans focus mainly on selling the famous loaves of fresh-baked breads off-site. Berolina Bakery recently began selling bread at the Sierra Madre Farmer’s Market and will begin selling in Howie’s Ranch Market, an independent market in San Gabriel. Anders and Youna split marketing duties, with him responsible for Twitter and her managing the Facebook fan page. Anders estimates that he spends about 2 hours per week on Twitter.

Inside a Swedish Princess Cake

A Prinsesstårta (Princess Cake) is a traditional Swedish cake consisting of alternating layers of airy cake, thick pastry cream, and jam, all topped with a thick layer of marzipan. The marzipan overlay is normally green, sprinkled with powdered sugar, and decorated with a pink marzipan rose. Yum!


Ron Magnin & David Laredo – The Nosh of Beverly Hills

March 12, 2010

Owners of The Nosh of Beverly HillsRestaurateur Profile:

Ron Magnin & David Laredo

Owners, The Nosh of Beverly Hills

9689 Santa Monica Blvd.

Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Yelp: 4 stars

Interview Date: Friday, March 12, 2010

Ron Magnin and David Laredo acquired The Nosh of Beverly Hills about four years ago from Lenny Rosenberg, who now owns Seventeenth Street Café & Bakery. Ron, a Beverly Hills native who grew up riding his bicycle to The Nosh of Beverly Hills to get bagels for his dad, had owned several Beverly Hills restaurants including Airstream Diner, Azia, Daily Wrap and Wokfast. He was looking for a new project, and held many business meetings at The Nosh of Beverly Hills. When the deal that he was working on fell through, he heard that Lenny was thinking of selling, and decided to seek a partner and dive in.

The Nosh of Beverly HillsDavid is also a restaurant pro and a serial entrepreneur. After owning Sprazzo in Westwood for about 8 years, he then got into the import business, but was looking to jump back into restaurants. When Ron called him to discuss the possibility of partnering on The Nosh of Beverly Hills, David was hesitant. “I said ‘I’m not a deli guy,’” he says, “but when I looked deeper and understood the bones of this place, and realized how iconic it is, I decided to go for it.”

The Nosh of Beverly Hills opened in 1975 as a Bagel Nosh franchise, with the parent company based in New York. Although the name has changed and the franchise is no longer operating, Ron and David have stuck with the original bagel recipe, which is a staple at the restaurant. “Our bagels are made the old fashioned way: they are hand-rolled, boiled in a kettle and then baked in a hearth fire,” says Ron. The cook who does all that hand rolling has strong forearms – one time he rolled more than 4,000 bagels in just three days … and that was for a high school catering job and didn’t include the thousands of bagels he regularly produces each week.

The Nosh of Beverly Hills has two kitchens – a prep and catering kitchen and a fast line for the restaurant. A full on-site bakery and many cooks work tirelessly to keep the deli cases filled, restaurant patrons fed, and many catering customers satisfied. In addition to the retail counter offering deli fare and the restaurant seating, The Nosh of Beverly Hills has many standing orders with hotels, businesses and organizations that appreciate the quality of food as well as the early delivery time.

The most significant change that Ron and David made when taking over was the philosophical shift from pure deli to a cross between a deli and a diner. David is originally from Israel, and has introduced some delicious Middle Eastern dishes including, he says, “the best falafel in LA!” Other atypical deli fare includes massive waffles and “hole in one” pancakes. Nonetheless, when I asked what to eat, the answer was as “deli” as it gets: a homemade bagel with whipped cream cheese and excellent lox.

This approach allows the pair to be more creative in food choices, and is also how they see an opportunity to expand the business. In fact, they recently acquired a wine and beer license and will be extending their hours to include dinner.

The best part of owning The Nosh of Beverly Hills is the customers. Both Ron and David agree that the social aspect of running a restaurant is “addictive” and fun. “The best part for me are the regulars – some people have been coming here for decades and still call us ‘Bagel Nosh’ and many people come in here every day for a good meal,” says Ron. “We’re like (the TV show) ‘Cheers’ in deli format.”The Nosh of Beverly Hills

The hardest part of owning The Nosh of Beverly Hills is the very nature of the deli business. “Delis are notoriously difficult due to the nature of having so many businesses … retail, dining and catering … rolled into one store,” says Ron. “We have a huge selection, and everything must be made fresh and kept in stock at all times.”

The benefits far outweigh the challenges for this pair, as they appear to thrive in the deli environment. To me, Ron and David are truly entrepreneurial, and seem to relish jumping around from task to task – greeting customers, training employees, searching to constantly improve the food quality, all the while watching sales and marketing efforts and adapting as the market constantly changes.

Lenny Rosenberg – Seventeenth Street Cafe & Bakery

March 10, 2010

Lenny Rosenberg Seventeenth Street CafeRestaurant Profile: Lenny Rosenberg

Owner/Manager, Seventeenth Street Café & Bakery

1610 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

Yelp: 3.5 stars (70 reviews)

Interview Date: Monday, March 08, 2010

The Seventeenth Street Café on Montana Ave in Santa Monica has been a fixture in Santa Monica for 20 years. Since Lenny Rosenberg acquired it about a year ago, it has seen some subtle but significant changes.

Lenny got his restaurant legs in New York, where his dad owned about 25 Jewish-style bakeries. When I asked at what age he started working for his dad, he said “about 4 or 5.” This may explain some of the newest additions to the Seventeenth Street Café & Bakery’s menu, including Rugelach cookies, Matzo Brie, and Challah French Toast.

After growing up in the food business, it was natural for Lenny to become an accomplished baker and restaurateur. He moved to Los Angeles about 10 years ago and previously owned Mayer’s Bakery in Palos Verdes and The Nosh of Beverly Hills before acquiring Seventeenth Street Café.

Lenny Rosenberg Seventeenth Street CafeSoon after acquiring Seventeenth Street Café, Lenny added an extensive bakery selection and added “Bakery” to the name. He also conducted a subtle but significant remodel that included freshening up all of the paint and installing modern windows to the front. The overall effect makes a regular think that something is different, but not shockingly so.

Lenny is proud of the fact that the Chef, Carlos, has been with Seventeenth Street Café since its inception, which means that all of the excellent core menu items remain, including excellent salads and delicious sweet potato fries. Many of the busboys have also been with the restaurant for 20 years, and the waitresses average 12 years with the restaurant.

Some of Lenny’s marketing efforts since coming to Seventeenth Street Café & Bakery include a revitalized catering program, which is advertised on tabletops throughout the restaurant. Another new program is the Curb Side Savings program, which offers a minimum of four dinners available for pick-up at a 30% discount. Lenny has also instituted several coupon programs, offering 30% dinner for diners who come for breakfast, and 30% off breakfast for those who come for dinner. This clever marketing activity helps Seventeenth Street Café demonstrate its breadth of food, potentially broadening customers’ perceptions of what type of restaurant it is.

Lenny says that he spends about 60% of his time managing the “front of house” and about 40% of his time baking. While he says that he does have the typically intense hours of a restaurateur, his employees are solid, and make it easier for him to avoid a completely brutal work schedule.

The best part of owning Seventeenth Street Café & Bakery is “seeing customers appreciate a good meal,” says Lenny. And the toughest part? “When an employee doesn’t show up for work.” Ouch. Yeah, that’s gotta suck.

Good To Know:

* Everything at Seventeenth Street Café & Bakery is baked on-site. That includes complimentary and delicious mini-muffins and bread that can easily fill you up if you’re not careful. Be sure to check out the many bakery samples on the counter, too!

* The restaurant is now open 3-5, and that’s a great time to come if you’re looking for a quiet meal. Core Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner times can be crowded depending on the day and time.

* Most popular salad: Chopped Grilled Veggie Salad

* Baked goods are fresh daily and sometimes come out fresh from the oven 2-3 times per day!