There’s good news on the horizon for everyone with a sweet tooth who enjoys home baked pastries and treats. Clayton’s Bakery & Bistro is expanding to offer even more tempting offerings. Mary Frese shares that she and partner Chelsea Shoeni have had their eyes on expanding Clayton’s Bistro, at 849 Orange Avenue, since the very beginning of the venture, so they were ready when the opportunity presented itself with H&R Block leaving. The new space will be a full-service retail bakery with an expanded patio area. They will offer their full complement of baked goods, including their most popular three varieties of croissants, monkey bread, cookies, bagels, cakes and more. The additional space will allow them to offer grab-and-go sandwiches and take-away picnic offerings with salami, baguettes, cheese, wine, and beer options. They will expand their cake selections with specialty orders for birthdays, hostess gifts, and other special occasions. Executive Pastry Chef Elena Palma will now be able to further collaborate and come up with exciting new options. Offering a larger assortment means fruit tarts, cupcakes, more decadent cookie and scone flavors and many other mouthwatering treats will be available. Mary is excited that this new space will also allow them to expand further into the wholesale bakery business.
Once the new bakery is open, which is anticipated by late summer, the bistro side will offer their breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu with sit down service. The bakery will offer an extensive array of of fresh baked cakes, breads and other delicious creations, as well as grab-and-go food options from their new large kitchen.
After making the decision, based on customer and staff safety, to close all her locations when the news of COVID-19 hit, Mary says it was the right decision for them; they received SBA money quickly and were able to furlough employees sooner rather than later. “There were so many unknowns at the time that it seemed prudent to shut down and gather information on how to go forward. I felt that the volume and tiny spaces of our locations heightened my concern for the safety of my employees, their families and our customers.”
Mary said that they have been busy steam cleaning everything in their facilities and hired a janitorial company to do hospital grade sanitization. They have taken the time to do needed painting and other projects, including updating their Point of Sale (POS) system and streamlining operations to meet new state guidelines and enhanced customer efficiency. They are working on adding food delivery and will be debuting that shortly.
As they move forward with opening slowly during this pandemic, Mary says that it feels a bit like starting over, but takes comfort that everyone is in this together. “This COVID pause has been an interesting time for my businesses. I keep trusting and believing that the economy will come back better than ever as we move forward.”
Knowing that the surge of home bakers are having trouble getting supplies, I asked if she has had these same issues. She said she’s in the same boat, as she works with her suppliers to get needed supplies, especially flour and yeast, for all those scrumptious baked goods. She has also seen food prices go up like the price of carne asada doubling. She is hopeful that the market will settle down, because she doesn’t want to have to raise prices on her customers.
“We have such strong relationships in the community,” she comments and says it has been gratifying to see all her familiar customers’ faces and catch up upon reopening. The bistro opened less than a year ago, last July 4, and has had an eventful year, but looks to have a bright future ahead with many more baked goods in store as they expand next door.