Santa Cruz bakeries are also a great place to grab lunch or dinner—here’s what to look for.
The Buttery: Once a bakery, now an Eastside institution, the Buttery starts off with killer zucchini muffins, massive eggs platters, a textbook Croque Monsieur, and opulent oatmeal, and continues on to lunches featuring designer salads, hot sandwiches, homemade soups (and all of the sweet cakes, pies, and cookies, too) that can easily become dinner—in-house or to go. Customer demand drove the corner bakery to expand into an al fresco picnic spot, and extend lunch and dinner hospitality to its fanbase. We love the turkey basil sandwiches with pesto aioli and pickled onions. And the Joe’s Favorite—Black Forest ham on an in-house onion roll. Some of those coffee guys stay until dinnertime. 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
Kelly’s French Bakery: Kelly’s launched itself with pretty pastries and lavish espresso drinks, and now caters to the faithful with creamy polenta and poached egg breakfasts, special lunch sandwiches and hot entrees. We order the roasted half chicken with fries for an easy take-away dinner. Or, add a glass of white wine and consume it out on the patio. And yes, it does all this while remaining the home of fine baguettes. 7 a.m.- 7 p.m.
Gayle’s Bakery and Rosticceria: Gayle’s began as a bakery—authentic Parisian croissants and genuine French roast back in the day when those were impossible to find. After a life-altering trip to Italy, Joe and Gayle Ortiz revamped, expanded, and opened the oak-fired rosticceria. The rest is breakfast-to-dinner history, from bear claws and Blue Plate specials to carry-out lasagna ready to pop in your oven. 6:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m.
Companion Bakeshop: Companion is another example of a bread bakery that expanded its horizons to include exceptional biscotti, pies, tarts, and cookies, as well as savory galettes, baguette sandwiches, frittatas, quiches, and sourdough breads that defy comprehension. The aroma alone is sacred. The espresso drinks are definitive. Any combination of the above can carry cyclists, yogis, or inquiring pre-teens from dawn to dusk. 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Tues-Fri; 8 a.m.-3 p.m Sat & Sun. Closed Mon.
Cafe Iveta: Iveta began with a sensational scone, and then it decided that more was more. Now the scones have sweet friends; tarts, cookies and cakes, and the morning coffee and pastry biz morphs into a major lunchtime venue. Scrambled organic eggs and greens, or lox toast with cream cheese, tomatoes, red onions and capers—your call. Fresh soups and the life-giving turkey and havarti sandwiches are lunchtime rituals. The GF fudgy cookie is mythic. 7 a.m.-4 p.m. daily, from 8 a.m. on Sat & Sun. Also on the UCSC campus.