A few weeks ago, as I was driving through our beloved Mill Valley in Marin County, I saw a sign on Camino Alto at East Blithedale... and squealed with excitement: La Boulangerie is coming back to Mill Valley (where Gira Polli used to be)!! For those who are unfamiliar, and don’t understand why this is such a big deal, let me give you some background. It's a very cool story & inspiring, too!
While some may think this is a brand new business, French baker Pascal Rigo has been operating La Boulangerie de San Francisco in the Bay Area for over 20 years. Originally founded as La Boulange, Pascal began the brand with the Pine Street bakery in 1997.
By 2012, the Bay Bread Group owned 4 commercial bakeries and 22 café bakeries under the La Boulange brand. In July of that same year, Starbucks acquired the brand and made Pascal Rigo head of their food division. Sadly, just three years later, Starbucks made the decision to close all of the La Boulange locations, wiping out a locally-owned and operated favorite in many neighborhoods of San Francisco & the Bay Area.
Soon after, Rigo left Starbucks and began the process of re-establishing his brand. Over the past couple of years, Rigo has succeeded in securing a factory and getting some of his old accounts back (likely due to his relationships with the landlords around town & in the area). Thus far, La Boulangerie de San Francisco has reopened a handful of former La Boulange locations across the city, with plans to open more in the near future. This news comes much to the delight of thousands of patrons around the Bay Area (including me!).
Rigo strives to bring a little taste of France to every customer every day. Using only the freshest all-natural ingredients, everything La Boulangerie de San Francisco serves is made daily from scratch, from the breads and the pastries to the sauces and the salad dressings. Amazing! We love that he got to “have his cake & eat it too” and--while he likely did very well with the Starbucks acquisition--it is very inspiring that he loves his business so much that he brought it back to the community for us all to enjoy. Bravo & bring on the lattes, S'il vous plaît!
*Images courtesy of @laboulangeriesf on Instagram
Visit the La Boulangerie de San Francisco website