At new Campbell location, Manresa’s Avery Ruzicka raises the bakery to a whole new level

Sourdough baguettes at Manresa Bread. (Photo by Alyssa Twelker)

At Manresa Bread’s new Campbell cafe, the everyday is elevated.

Here, your bodega bacon-egg-cheese sandwich is made on an onion-mustard pain de mie bun and with sous-vide bacon from Tennessee. The humble breakfast taco is composed from housemade chorizo and tortillas made from fresh-milled flour and coconut butter. Cacio e pepe takes on new meaning with German spaetzle made from sourdough starter.

Manresa Bread’s sourdough spaetzle. (Photo by Alyssa Twelker)

Manresa Bread is opening its third and largest location Wednesday, Nov. 21, at 195 E. Campbell Ave. It’s across the street from where head baker Avery Ruzicka first started selling bread at a farmer’s market stand by herself five years ago.

Avery Ruzicka started Manresa Bread at a farmers market stand in 2013. (Photo by Aubrie Pick)

She was then a food runner at the Michelin-starred Manresa in Los Gatos, where she seized the opportunity to transform the restaurant’s bread program. She went on to open standalone bakeries in Los Gatos and Los Altos, where her fresh-milled breads, viennoiserie and other baked goods have drawn loyal followings.

Armed with more square footage, a new mill and a full liquor license, the Campbell location is allowing Ruzicka and her team to flex their creative muscles. In addition to the bakery’s typical offerings, there will be breakfast, lunch, dinner dishes and booze.

“We wanted to create a space where we’re serving things that we want to eat,” Ruzicka said.

Chocolate babka and fresh-milled levain bread at Manresa Bread. (Photos by Alyssa Twelker)

Five things to know about Manresa Bread’s new Campbell cafe.

1 — It’s got culinary chops. Ruzicka graduated from the French Culinary Institute in New York and staged at Thomas Keller’s Per Se before working at Manresa. Todd Parker, Manresa’s longtime sous chef, is coming on board as opening chef. Everything in the kitchen, from aioli to sausage, will be made in house, with an eye for technique and quality. This being said, “It’s not a three Michelin-star restaurant,” Ruzicka said. “It’s a cafe.”

2—Manresa Bread will serve different purposes at different times of the day. From 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., there will be breakfast and lunch, including salads, sandwiches and sides like fried fingerling potatoes with Sriracha aioli and scallions. From 4–8 p.m., look for “snacky cocktail-hour food,” including housemate country pâté, a Parmesan churro and the cacio e pepe. “We see across the board everyone is exited about that all-day mentality,” Ruzicka said. “I think it is a natural thing socially right now.”

Toast at Manresa Bread, clockwise from top: ‘nduja and stracciatella on sourdough; chocolate spread and salt; toasted levain with butter. (Photos by Alyssa Twelker)

3—It’s “on bread,” not “toast.” This section of the menu will feature sourdough breads with toppings including fresh butter, salted Valrhona chocolate spread, avocado and nduja (a spicy, spreadable Italian salumi) and burrata.

4—Come for the bread, stay for the booze. Ruzicka is applying her baking philosophies to the beer, wine and cocktail menus. “We wanted to showcase beer-makers and winemakers who are also taking the ingredients that they are excited about and helping guide them toward their most balanced natural expression of themselves,” she said. Think natural wine, beer with “spontaneous fermentation,” naturally fermented alcoholic kombucha and seasonal cocktails that lean acidic, classic and light.

5—This won’t be the Bay Area’s last Manresa Bread, Ruzicka said, though she’s careful about when and where they expand. “Going from Manresa’s kitchen to where we are right now has all been about asking ourselves if we’re ready for new challenges, reaching for new challenges … but challenges that feel like the right fit.”

Clockwise from top: Manresa Bread’s monkey bread, chocolate croissants and chocolate chip cookies. (Photo by Alyssa Twelker)

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Plant-based Peninsula: the Six Fifty’s guide to vegan & vegetarian eats around Silicon Valley

Elena Kadvany

A writer with a passion for investigative reporting, telling untold stories and public-service journalism, I have built my career covering education and restaurants in the Bay Area. My blog and biweekly newsletter, Peninsula Foodist, is the go-to source for restaurant news in Silicon Valley. My work has been published in The Guardian, Eater, Bon Appetit’s Healthyish, SF Weekly and The Six Fifty.

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