Celebrating four generations
of baking in the European tradition.
Our story begins almost a century ago in a little town on the Klamath River in Northern California. My grandfather, Paul Brunello, emigrated there from Italy, joining his brothers who were working at a sawmill.
In exchange for an unpaid debt, the Brunello boys were handed a struggling bakery. It was decided that Paul, the youngest brother, would leave the sawmill and run the bakery. All of a sudden my grandfather was in the bakery business.
Paul was a hard worker and had a great appreciation for European style fresh baked bread. With a strong commitment to quality and freshness, his little bakery began to thrive.
In 1963 my father, Roger, joined the family business after college. He and my grandfather ran the bakery together until my grandfather retired in 1976 and the business was sold. I have fond childhood memories of climbing through the flour sacks with my brother and investigating all corners of the bakery.
In 1977 Roger and four partners opened San Francisco Boulangerie, which specialized in sourdough and sweet French bread and specialty sandwiches made with bread still warm from the oven. After just a few years, Roger decided to pursue his passion on his own and sold the business to Pepsico, who later renamed the company La Petite Boulangerie.
In 1981 my Father opened the first Le Boulanger in Los Altos. Throughout high school and college I worked after school and summers in the bakery. After college I officially joined the company in 1987. For the next 20 years we grew the business from 3 stores to 23 stores. Along the way, we added a 30,000 square foot plant and a 14 truck wholesale business. At that point my father was ready to retire, so my dad’s younger brother and I purchased his shares. By 2005, I wanted to get back to basics, to focus on a level of quality and service that can only be found in a small owner operated bakery. So I left the family business and ventured out on my own, acquiring La Baguette bakery in the Stanford Shopping Center.
Over this past decade I have built upon this quaint little bakery’s reputation by adding several café selections to our menu which include, soups and salads, warm quiche and both hot and cold sandwiches made of fresh La Baguette breads. True to family tradition, La Baguette has flourished and we’ve opened a second location in the Stonestown Galleria in San Francisco. With our children getting older, my wife Natalie has now joined me in the business. Our son Joe is baking and making pastries when he’s home from school and our daughter Annie works there, also, in the front of the house.
Lots of folks have asked if there’s a secret to our success. I think it’s really quite simple. It’s our nearly 100-year dedication –obsession, really– to quality and treating the great people we have working for us with trust and respect. That, along with our love of French baking, is in our DNA. So now we’re celebrating four generations. And counting. Join us at La Baguette and experience the wonderful delights of a remarkable French patisserie.