A baker dressed in his all-white uniform pops out of the kitchen of the Bread Lounge wheeling a cart full of fresh pound cake. He squeaks the six-foot cart past customers munching on a panini and recharging with a cup of freshly roasted coffee from Stumptown Coffee Roasters down the block. He rolls past a basket carrying tall baguettes with charred, narrow tips looking like a sultan’s pointed slippers. Next, he pushes the trays past the case displaying rows of flaky ricotta danishes and pistachio danishes, plump raisin buns and chocolate croissants, sesame seed-covered Jerusalem bagels and Balkan Borek.
The baker’s journey ends when he reaches the long window to the left of the front door. He leaves the trays of pecan-covered coffee cake uncovered and their warm caramel perfume fills the petite bakery. This is a typical day at the Bread Lounge.
Owned by Ran Zimon, the Bread Lounge began as wholesale bakery in 2010, delivering around Los Angeles to cafés, restaurants and boutique hotels in the know.
“They used to called us the ‘Underground Bakery’ because nobody knew where we were or how to get to us,” Zimon explains.
Initially, the restaurants and coffee shops that purchased from Zimon wanted to keep the origin of their baked goods a secret so that they could be the only place to offer his delicious pastries and exquisite baguettes. However, with the Bread Lounge, Zimon fulfills his desire to provide a neighborhood bakery for all to have a taste.
Despite his growing success, Zimon feared the LA community would reject his product because he had a difficult time finding a bakery himself. Now, two years after the birth of the Bread Lounge, Zimon explains how his customers are more than simple patrons.
“There’s a real sense of community here, and you feel like you’re part of something,” Zimon says. “You’re not just a business.”
While most chefs keep certain ingredients away from public knowledge, Bread Lounge boasts its humble list of ingredients: flour, water, salt and natural yeast. The bread here, perfectly crusted with a dense, yet fluffy center, is the stuff of food magazines and French cookbooks. While picturesque in presentation, the breadsticks, loaves and pastries also fill the stomach without weighing down the body.
Customers can even watch the Bread Lounge bakers turn basic ingredients into the quality bread, pastries and cookies they take home with them. They can observe as the baker sprinkles flour onto the wooden board in front of him like he’s dealing cards and then methodically shape the dough to fill his trays.
Some may come for the pastries at the Bread Lounge but most come for their sandwiches. While juicy vegetables, fine cheeses and premium meats all prove their importance in the symphony that is the sandwich, bread, without question, is the most essential. At the Bread Lounge, whether toast or croissant, baguette or brioche, the bread keeps the melodious flavors of each sandwich in harmony.
More than a place to grab a quick lunch or breakfast pastry, Bread Lounge offers Downtown LA a warm, sweet-smelling landmark to call our own.
To find out more, go to: breadlounge.com