Pastry chef to open bakery in Bread Garden space

Frank Sally: award-winning pastry chef plans to open Fournée Bakery in the former Bread Garden space in the Claremont neighborhood

Frank Sally has had his eye on the Bread Garden in Berkeley’s Claremont neighborhood for a long time. “I have always really liked that spot,” he says. “It’s a pretty area, and busy. It seemed a natural fit for a bakery.”

And now it will be his bakery. Sally, an award-winning chef who teaches at San Francisco Baking Institute, and has worked as pastry chef at the Michelin-starred Meadowood in Napa, has taken over the lease at 2912 Domingo Avenue from David Morris who closed the Bread Garden last month, after 38 years in the same location.

Currently in the throes of meetings with inspectors and contractors, Sally is renovating the space in the hope of opening Fournée Bakery (“batch” in French) before year-end.

The bakery will offer a range of morning pastries, breads, and cakes, mostly in the classic French style, but also “whatever people want.”

Fournée will be Sally’s first venture into running a small business, but he has the perfect mentor to guide him. Michel Suas, who founded the San Francisco Baking Institute in 1996, has helped many well-known bakers hone their skills and run high-quality artisan bakeries. “I have learned so much from Michel,” says Sally. “He’s a thoroughbred in the pastry world.”

Sally himself has won his share of plaudits. In September last year he snagged first place in the organic bread category at the Mondial du Pain competition in Lyons, France, where he represented the U.S.A. He wowed the judges with an a teff sunflower seed loaf. Unusual grains and seeds are one of his areas of interest.

Sally, who lives in Oakland, roughly a five-mile commute from his new bakery, says his goal has always been to own his own place. He has worked in a number of bakeries, restaurants, and hotels in the Bay Area, including Meadowood, Campton Place and Montclair Baking. His interest in food began when he was 15 years old and he made ice cream for a small Boston neighborhood shop throughout his high school and college years.

A new bakery, Fournée, is set to open in the Bread Garden bakery space which had been in the same spot since 1973 and closed last month

The Bread Garden opened its doors on Domingo in November 1973. Owner David Morris was not always happy with the way the business went there. In July 2009, he posted a notice in his store telling customers that business was so bad he was considering not renewing his lease. He was helped by his local councilmember and neighbors but, in early 2010, he threatened to close again after launching a campaign against next-door neighbor Peet’s who, he claimed, were making inferior pastries.

On the eve of the Bread Garden’s closure, Morris said he was competing with an estimated 38 bakeries in Berkeley, compared to eight when he opened. “The market isn’t any bigger than it was in 1973. There is intense competition for the bakery dollar,” he said. He recently opened a new bakery in Paso Robles.

Sally says he is looking forward to serving  Berkeleyans. “I will be making everything by hand in a small artisanal setting and I believe people in Berkeley will support that approach,” he says.

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  • Guest

    that is great news!  I am really excited for him to open. Though we patronized the Bread Garden, the sour grapes of the owner just cast a pall over the spot for me.  A new attitude will be welcome.

  • JW

    Great location!  Good luck to this new business.

  • Irisandjules

    Interesting grains, huh. Teff is a wonderful one! Well, with that I hope he will make some high-class gluten free breads as well. That would bring me up from West Berkeley :-)

  • Guest

    My family is very excited to hear about this! We can’t wait for it to open. 

  • MFS

    I have been lucky enough to have his bread and pastries many times. This will be another amazing addition for Berkeley!

  • Annie Painter

    Looking forward to a new baker, with a positive outlook and willing to co-exist with Peet’s, in this space! Best wishes and cannot wait.

  • Bishop George Berkeley

    I can already feel David Morse’s bad juju being swept away.  What a fantastic attitude!  I predict long lines–starting with all the Peet’s patrons tired of the “inferior [bakery] product” offered next door!

  • SJM

    AWESOME news!  Welcome to the neighborhood, Sally. 

  • Dawn

    I worked with Frank for a bit many years ago. So excited to see this story, his shop will be great!

  • bolaw

    Gluten-free too, please, please!

  • Gin1423

    I have only been to the present bakery a few times and was rarely wanting more!
    It was expensive along with poor choices.
    Looking foreword to new shop!
    Good luck!

  • katz4me

    Was staying at Claremont this week & saw sign in window, sorry they weren’t yet open. While I love Peet’s coffee they never have anything to offer in the way of “treats” for my afternoon coffee. Seems like it would make a great neighborhood spot. Maybe off soup & a couple of sandwiches too?

  • Calipenguin

    I know Frank’s background is in French pastries, but I hope he can make tasty 100% whole-grain bread and reduced-salt breads.

  • Lorraine

    Congrats Frank!  Your Family is very proud of you!  Good Luck!