Rustic Bakery in Larkspur, CA; Where It All Started With Crackers


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Have you ever eaten happiness? Would you dare try to count the flaky layers in a freshly made butter croissant like it was a gumball jar guessing game at the county fair? Ever discovered a new favorite flavor through a mispronunciation? “What is a Queen Al..i..mond?” “You mean a Kouign Amann?” The person behind the glass says with an informatively easy going smile, the worker clearly knew how to create a customer centric experience. “It is a croissant that has a layer of caramelized sugar on the top. They are delicious!!” Have you ever delved into a smiley face mocha or indulged in a peanut butter or cheesecake brownie so good it can only be described as decadent?

Well, I have. On a quiet little street, in a shopping center as ordinary as shoelaces, next to a hair salon and a craftsman’s frame shop, sits a little café, a café so unsuspecting you would almost speed right past it if it were not for the devious smells wafting out into the cool Northern California breeze. On this sleepy little California back road, in the town of Larkspur sits a culinary gem, the original Rustic Bakery. Even in the local area it something of a hidden phenomenon. Maybe they should look to boost their online presence by using Local SEO Audits. With its brother store looking over the San Francisco Bay at Marin Country Mart on the opposite end of Larkspur and its sister store found at the gateway to Sonoma County in Novato on Grant Street, Rustic Bakery has become one of Marin Counties premiere eating locations for anyone eager to taste classic French baking and pastry at the highest quality. A bakery and company that has become so popular that Pope Francis, the pontiff himself, personally requested flatbread crackers and crostini be served on his private flights across America. Not too shabby a request for a small town bakery which has always demonstrated big-time ambition yet has always respected its own noble beginnings. It would be great for this wonderful bakery to grow even more with additional exposure. I guess in the modern climate this would be best achieved online with a dependable seo company.

Rustic Bakery
1139 Magnolia Avenue
Larkspur, CA 94939

Rustic Bakery is the taste bud taunting dream come true of Carol LeValley. Just as “passionate about art, design, baking and local organic food” (North Bay Business Journal, June 2013), this Willie Wonka of Challah started with something as simple and down to earth as the idea of making crackers. She has built the name of Rustic to mean more than just rural or simply fashioned. It has come to be associated with something fresh, something true and something good. The unpretentious bakery and café that Carol has created offers her patrons the opportunity to put the hustle and bustle of life on hold and just take a moment to enjoy the simple things in life, like meeting with an old friend and enjoying an irresistible nosh before getting back to the real world.

At Rustic Bakery, organic ingredients transform themselves in the hands of their proud assemblage of trusted bakers. Classic treats like cinnamon rolls and Pain Au Chocolate

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are given just as much attention as newer temptations like savory wheat free scones and orange olive oil cake. Like so many busy Mr. Geppetto’s actually handcrafting their creations, each baker pays special attention to detail, ensuring that the nut-to-sugary goo ratio is perfect on every pecan sticky bun and that the crunch in each loaf of Polenta Sourdough remains the same from the first slice to the last. It is this meticulous attention to detail which has allowed the Marin County community to so easily embrace Rustic Bakery.

Now when you first walk into a Rustic Bakery be prepared. You and your senses may be a little overwhelmed. While everyone in the trusted staff often suggest you get one of everything “just to make your life easier”, look carefully or you might miss something. Towers of temptations stand before you, just waiting to be gobbled up. Croissants of so many varieties, scones and muffins,


giant cookies (chocolate chip with pecans with a tall glass of milk is definitely my weakness); strata and croissant bread pudding and the most eclectic selection of freshly made bread is a literal feast for the eyes and tummy. But just when you think you have seen everything and you have hit a deliciousness overload, look up and you will discover even more… the café menu.

From a classic breakfast Panini, to parfaits with seasonal fresh fruit and the most addictive granola you have ever tasted,

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to the seemingly endless sandwich selection, all made with their own fresh bread and the best organic ingredients Northern California has to offer. So many salads to choose from, like the Asian Chicken or Updated Chicken Cesar with half kale and half romaine lettuce. You can go bold and choose the Saigon Sandwich, a 5-spice roasted chicken sandwich with pickled carrots and daikon, cucumber, jalepeño, cilantro and radish cress with spicy soy dressing; or you can choose to go a bit more classic with the quiche and soup combination. I personally love going with their delicious and eclectic soups. Soups so good they makes any Campell’s soup can run and hide in fear and any little old grandmother stand up and cheer.

Even with all of the comforting food Rustic Bakery has to serve up and dish out, the best, most engaging part of the entire Rustic experience is the warm and friendly atmosphere. Anyone of the Rustic crew members is more than happy to assist in any way they can. From loading up heaping high boxes of after soccer game goodies to celebrate a championship win, to helping create the perfect cheese, cracker and wine pairing for your next gift or family gathering. Just look for anyone in the signature black Rustic t-shirts. They are the first voice you hear when you walk through the doors. Quick with a “Good Morning!” or “How are you?” They are there not only to give you that quick caffeine and sugar jolt you need just before you drop the kids off for school or get in a quick 12 mile run before work. They are there to give you even just the briefest moments of pâtisserie positivity to start, continue and end your day. They are more than the people who make artfully create your café latte.

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Those who work at Rustic Bakery are actresses, mothers, aspiring singers, survivors; students of life and lovers of so many things, like elephants, sea turtles, and anything and everything Michael Jackson. They come from all different backgrounds and cultures and have all journeyed down different roads. At the most complex yet simplest of summations, they can really only happily be described as one thing: a family. The warmth that is felt resonating throughout the bakery comes not just from the ovens in the back, which over the years have turned out thousands if not millions of delicious treats, but also from the employees in the front. Who really, when you get down to it are there just waiting to help the next customer.

Rustic Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Annie Opatz

Sandwich slinger, fruit packer, pie pusher, fisherwoman, crazed calorie collector, bacon loving brawd!! All food titles I am proud to say I have held. I was born the third child of a barbequing fisherman and the best crepe making mama around. Food has always been a major part of my life. Weather it was BBQ’s and apple tree climbing in the backyard, wondering through the vineyards of my maternal and paternal grandparents homes, running from spiders in our family garden, or fighting my older siblings over who got to lick the cookie dough off the spatula, I always grew up surrounded by good people, lots of love and eclectic food. My family, along with a diverse group of people I have met and work alongside, have taught me the true definition of “yum”. From a mom and pop bakery run by a famous Brazilian guitarist where I learned to cook with passion and soul; a 77 year old grocery and deli owned by two brothers from Jordan who always served up hot soups and sandwiches with a wicked sense of humor; the international hotel restaurant managed by a Swedish women who took me under her wing like only a mama manager could; and now I have come back to my bakery roots, working as a server and barista at a local organic bakery and café with a group of people I can only describe in three words… my second family. However, some of my biggest influences have come from the teachers I have been so fortunate to learn from throughout my formal education. I have spent the majority of my life studying the importance of culture, tradition, community, acceptance, language, history, varying life ways and the role food plays in all of these. This engaging group of men and women are some of the most eye opening and thought provoking teachers one could ever ask for. I am a huge believer in education as a lifelong quest and have seen first-hand how a little bit of knowledge and a big heaping helping of delicious anything can change and save lives. As I have gotten older my passion for any and all things edible has only grown and my appetite for life and food is insatiable. Now nearly five years post a successful double lung transplant and with a degree in cultural anthropology in hand, I am more excited than ever to see and taste what the world has to offer. From farmers markets to food festivals I love to go exploring throughout Northern California discovering new food secrets, while at the same time using the rumbling in my belly as a bridge between the various people and cultures that make America a truly awe-inspiring culinary melting pot. Because if there is one thing I have learned for certain it is that food is life … AND LIFE IS GOOD!!

1 Comment

  1. Reply


    January 4, 2016

    This is a well written article. Thank you Annie