The food has to be excellent, that’s a given. The service has to be excellent, that’s also a given. On top of all that, however, Heirloom Bakery & Café in South Pasadena ensures all its baked goods are fresh, baked on site throughout the night.
“We make everything fresh here,” said Claudia LeFrost, an Heirloom waitress for the last decade. “We bake everything fresh here except the ketchup.” LeFrost added with a smile.
Heirloom Bakery & Café offers a full breakfast, brunch, lunch and on some nights, even a dinner menu. It has seating inside as well as outside on an expansive patio. The menu changes daily and can be found on a large chalk board as you enter the restaurant. Along with fresh baked goods, the restaurant offers fresh-made juices including strawberry-mint lemonade. They offer a wide range of fresh coffees and teas as well.
“We opened in August of 2005 and we’ve been here in the same location ever since,” Heirloom owner Sally Cook said Wednesday afternoon, after working since 4:30 a.m. “We just want to serve the community as well as we can.”
The café, known for its fresh pastries and desserts including Key Lime Pie, have customers that come so often, waitresses know what people want before they order.
“They are like family,” LeFrost said. “Some come in two to three times a day. We have people that drive all the way from Santa Barbara to eat here. This is a great place to work.”
And work they do. The eatery has four cooks and a slew of bakers that work nearly all-night, baking and preparing the baguettes, breads, a variety of fresh desserts that range from carrot and velvet cupcakes, to chocolate croissants, and fresh baked pies. The eatery is also known for its breakfast that include fresh pastries such as the ubiquitous cinnamon roll. They also serve fresh salads, sandwiches and much more.
The family atmosphere extends not only to the customers but to the employees as well.
“When I started here, I was treated like family,” said Destiny Erazo, who’s coming up on a year working at Heirloom. “If I ever needed any help, my co-workers would have no problem helping. I really like it.”
Sally Cook said that feeling of family extends to the South Pasadena community.
“I’m so grateful that South Pasadena welcomed us in the beginning and has continued to support us,” Cook said as she took a break from her busy day. “I just want to continue making good, fresh food.”
One of the four cooks that ensures that quality food keeps coming out of the Heirloom’s spotless kitchen on a daily basis is 31-year-old Marco Gonzalez.
“The people here are very friendly, and that’s different from some of the places I’ve worked,” Gonzalez said as he was preparing one of the many sandwiches offered to customers on freshly baked bread. “My co-workers are great. We are like a team.” He’s worked at Heirloom for the past six years and is planning on staying as long as he’s able.
And that’s just fine with Cook, who says one of the challenges is finding and keeping quality help.
“I think that’s always the challenge,” she said. “We want to maintain and keep quality employees. It’s kind of like having 20 kids to manage. And I don’t mean to sound like I’m that mature. I’m just so lucky for the people that I do have working for me.”
Sally Cook also feels lucky about one other thing, perhaps more so than any other.
“We are so lucky that we keep opening our doors and people keep coming in,” she said.
Heirloom Bakery & Café is located at 807 Meridian Ave. Its business hours are Mon.-Fri. 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sat. and Sun. from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call (626) 441-0042
Heirloom Bakery & Cafe Business Spotlight appeared in the print edition of the South Pasadena Review on 6.29.18.