The Bread and Ocean Bakery in Manzanita is getting a makeover and growing larger at the same time.
By Brad Mosher
He already has added room for 36 more customers inside, and counting the original seating and what is available outside on the patio during good weather, it has expanded the restaurant capacity to more than 60 people. There will also be seating in the full-service bar area, which would bring the total seating in the business to approximately 74 people.
When the bakery changed owners recently, the new owners made note of what they considered to be needed improvements, including alleviating a bottleneck by the cash register.
“Our business was so brisk, the line would be from the cash register back to the door – and some days beyond (the door), said owner George Reddish Monday. “It was causing us to lose business. I could see people come up, look at the line, shake their head and go somewhere else.”
Reddish said that while the long lines were “an endorsement of our foods,” he also said it was time to make some changes before starting the summer season. “We had very, very high quality food, but we couldn’t service all the customers,” he said, adding “especially during tourist season.”
That bottleneck was just one of the changes the owner had in store for the business.
When the lease became available for a business next door to the bakery, it was the perfect opportunity for Redding to launch his expansion plans.
Already, there have been some major changes, including the seating for 36 more people inside. “We started the renovations back in January and have been working on it ever since. We are nearing completion. We hope to have everything opened up by the end of April.
“We have already expanded the seating area,” said the owner. “We have a temporary wall so that we can have more customers sit down.”
Eventually, the wall will come down and provide a route to the new full-service bar which is currently under construction, he said.
The bakery is also expanding even further to offer a full-service bar in the near future, according to the owner. “Sometime in April, we will go to a full-service restaurant and a full-service bar, so we will be doing evening meals.”
The bakery has currently been open for breakfast and lunch, closing at 2 p.m.
When the expansion and additions are complete, the business will be open from 7:30 a.m. until about 10 p.m.
Originally, the expansion and changes were to cut down on the lines and make it easier to serve the customers, he said.
“Instead of people standing in line to place their orders, it will be like a full-service restaurant,” Reddish said. “The wait staff will be able to take your order at the table. The meal will be prepared and placed at your table.”
The owners still have to go through the final paperwork to getting the liquor license from the state. “Once we do that, then we will have to hire additional staff and train them. We are going to have what we call a ‘soft opening’ and once we think we have learned how to do it, we are going to invite people to come in,” he said.
“We are going to be going into it (the expansion) gradually,” the retired schoolteacher said.
When the owners bought the bakery/deli more than a year ago, there was a steep learning curve, Reddish explained. “We learned all that stuff, but we need to prepare now on how to be a full service restaurant. So, we are getting there,” he said.
Redding said that a big draw for many of the customers in the gourmet salads the business offers. “We do a Sage Chicken Salad and a Curry Chicken Salad … and a lot of folks just love those.
“We also do some Crab Quiches that people love. We go down to Garibaldi and get some fresh crabs, then bring them back up and process them right there in the restaurant,” he said. “That stuff flies out of the joint,” he added with a chuckle.
There has been a lot of staff loyalty since the owner bought the business and he thinks he knows the reason for it. “We allow our chefs to be creative. They don’t have to prepare the same thing day after day after day. They are always looking up recipes and trying this and trying that. When they try something new, we all (the owners and staff) get a taste of it. If we all enjoy it, we’ll put it on the menu,” he said.
When it comes to the salads, Reddish said that the organic salads and the vegan salads in the display case are all the result of the creativity of the chefs. “We are very happy. We have got a tremendous work crew in the back of that place. “They are like the Tasmania Devils when they go in there and go chop, chop, chop. It is a very dynamic place,” the owner added.
The business has also kept its baker for a number of years and he is responsible for all the specialty breads made every day of the week, the owner added.
The bakery has been so successful that many times if people wait until mid-day to visit for some of the specialty breads, Bread and Ocean may be sold out, the owner explained. “We have a lot of customers who have standing orders. We also supply several restaurants who have standing orders for our baked goods.”
When Reddish came to the Oregon Coast several years ago, they already had family ties. His mother-in-law lives in Rockaway Beach. The manager of the Bread and Ocean is one of their daughters.
The family moved to Manzanita in 2003, after both George and Linda had worked as school teachers in Delaware. They first became customers, eating at the Bread & Ocean three or four times a week.
“We just loved their variety of sandwiches,” he said.
Then, they saw a for sale sign. “We called Emily (one of their daughters) and asked if she would like to manage and eventually own a little bakery in Manzanita. She jumped on it and said yes, so we went and bought the business,” he said.
For Reddish, it was a big change. Before buying the business, he said his only experience with a restaurant was being a customer, he said.
“The learning curve was rather steep. The staff that we inherited, they shepherded us though the process. They explained what they were doing and why they were doing it,” he said.
With the new expanded capacity, the business will soon be hiring new workers, Reddish said.
But, one thing that the owner is proud of is that he has gone from a sedentary retiree to someone working seven days a week, but is much healthier for it. “How many people own a bakery and lose weight,” he said, laughing. “I have lost 50 pounds. I think I have increased my lifespan by five or 10 years because of the energy I use.”
The bakery, deli and catering business is located at 150 Laneda Avenue in Manzanita just a few blocks east of the beach.