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Pioneer Bakery on Rose

When did the Pioneer Bakery on Rose close? I remember it being open this summer. I loved that place - the cheap "used" bread, the fresh bread, the muffins and those strudel like creations. That was the first place I ever saw sourdough bread shaped like a lobster (back in the 80s).

What happened?

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  1. IIRC, if this is the place in Venice, there was a time in the '70's when it also featured a cafeteria/buffet with a pleasant patio dining area. That was a long time ago.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bob Brooks

      That would have been the Pioneer Boulangerie on Main St. in Santa Monica. I was one of those who was sad to see it go.

    2. Gold Coast Bakery closed the facility earlier this year and relocated some of the employees to Santa Ana, ref:
      Reportly there is some GC/Pioneer outlet on the corner of Montana and Lincoln in Santa Monica, but GC does not seem to have any web presence to verify this.
      Pioneer is now just a brand name for a industrial, non-artisanal food factory.

      1. Thanks for the info.

        I don't remember the cafeteria but my first visit was probably in around '83 as that's when we moved to Santa Monica. I swear, at least one of the women working there has been around as long as I can remember. I've seen the place on Montana, but have never been in.

        I feel so sad now, the bakery was a childhood favorite.

        1. Yes, it's unfortunate because it was a pretty reliable source for rolls when I needed tons of them quickly. They are supposedly going to turn the land into a condo development.

          1. Pioneer Bakery is indeed on Lincoln and Montana. They share a space with Panda Express. They still serve their great signature breads. Huge Shepherders loaf and sour dough baguettes. Huge variety of breads and pastries. They also make great cakes. I used to work at the Pioneer Boulangerie in the late 70's on Main Street in Santa Monica. What a great time that was. I can still smell hot rolls coming off the conveyor belt. As well as the restaurant, there was a cheese counter and great wine room. How I miss there. It was a sad day when they closed. The building is now torn down and becoming condos. So what else is new?!

            2 Replies
            1. re: misty

              We used to eat at the Boulangerie quite often! Good place.. their bread was a favorite. I haven't thought of that place in years.

              1. re: monkuboy

                They had great clam chowder soup and delicious green godess dressing!!! Believe it or not, their bread tastes the same as it did 25 years ago. I just came back from the bakery and bought some large french rolls and a sourdough loaf. yum!

            2. In the days before you could by artisanal breads in almost every market, Pioneer Boulangerie was the place to get great fresh bread & rolls. My family went there weekly (we're Italian & bread is a very big deal). I miss the cafeteria, too - good soups & other yummy stuff. It was a relaxed, fun place - I miss it!

              1. I am so sad...I will be 49 on tus and I was hoping to get some rolls from here .I have not been back to the area since the 60's except for one week in the80s when I w so drunk that I thought the Rose Cafe on Rose was the Pioneer...lol...I freaked out because there were so many ppl that we just left but I remember in the 60s when my uncle who is now a famous photographer lived on Rose drive when we would go visit him ...you could smell the bread early in the morning and accully most of the day form his house.it was the best in the world. I was going to order some and have it shipped as I miss the taste of it and have been spoiled ever since by it. nothing will ever compair another part of my childhood just died

                3 Replies
                1. re: notenut

                  So I just came back from the Pioneer on Montana. Same block as Pavillions. They share a space with Panda Express. They have the same breads as the old Bakery that was on Rose and Main Street. From what I remember, one of the Pioneer x-employees opened this bakery. They sell a lot of the same bread - french rolls, shepherders, baguettes, etc. - GREAT cinammon rolls and large variety of loaves and rolls. After 7pm everything is 50% off. It's worth a visit.

                  1. re: misty

                    Misty, thats good information thank you. I would go to the place on Rose a few time a month. They had these killer bran muffins and fresh bread loved it all. That store there was such a throw back in time.. Times are changing. Im not sure where Pavilions on Montana is would you post the cross streets whenever you have time.. Thanks

                    1. re: Foodandwine

                      Pavillions is between Lincoln and 9th Street on Montana in Santa Monica.

                2. Sadly, Pioneer had been on the ropes for quite a few years. They were heavily unionized which was killing their operating costs, and the increasing competition from La Brea Bakery, etc. was whittling away at their revenue. Talks with various regional and national bakeries had been going on but nothing really panned out in the way or form they had wished.

                  Like many have voiced here, I miss them as well. They were the only widely accessible source of good bread for many decades. I knew quite a few people starting from my school days in the Westside whose parents and grand parents worked for Pioneer - fresh bread was never an issue. Does anyone remember the huge sign on the southeast corner of the bakery?

                  1. I used to get day old sourdough bread from Pioneer on Rose Ave. back in the early 70's it was about one quarter the price of the fresh bread, you couldn't tell the difference. I dont know if Sara Lee bought out the license from Pioneer or they just use the same recipe for Sourdough bread but to me it tastes identical.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: malibumike

                      Sourdough is the only bread my "Pioneer" friends would eat day-old.

                      1. re: bulavinaka

                        You can get day old or fresh sourdough from Frisco Baking.
                        They supply the sourdough for restaurants like The Original Pantry.
                        Wholesale prices to the public.
                        Fresh 1 1/2 pound sourdough loaf is like $2.25. Day old is a $1.50.
                        They also have French bread, sheepherder, rolls and fresh pizza dough.

                        Open 7 days a week
                        Frisco Baking
                        621 W Avenue 26 *(near San Fernando Road & 5 Freeway--exit 110 freeway at Avenue 26)
                        Los Angeles, CA 90065
                        (323) 225-6111

                        1. re: monku

                          I live close to Frisco Baking and often buy sourdough or french bread there. It's good but it is no match for the breads that used to come from the Pioneer Bakery.

                          I would have scored the bread from Foix Bakery, which used to be located in the same neighborhood as Frisco, second best after Pioneer. They used to be the supplier to Philippe's, the Pantry and Eastside Italian Deli until about 15 years ago when they shut down.

                    2. on the subject of old-time LA bread bakeries -- I am presuming the Helms bread factory whipped up essentially wonder-bread type fare. I have absolutely no way of knowing this, however, having arrived here in the mid-90's, long after its heyday. I'm just wondering whether my prejudices and presumptions are at all close to the mark.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: aliris

                        Yes I think you are right, I remember the Helms delivery trucks that used to roam the LA area in the 1950's just like the milk trucks of that era. Great smell from those trucks.

                        1. Wow! I cant believe I finely found a place where people remember Pioneer Boulangerie on Main,I worked there in the 80's and I lived two blocks from the bakery on Rose.