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La Brea Bakery’s Expansion Plans Rise

If you’re tired of waiting in line at La Brea Bakery only to discover that your favorite bread has run out, you’ll be glad to know that Nancy Silverton plans to expand. In March the owner of the fiercely popular bakery expects to open a 20,000-square-foot space on Washington Boulevard so she can begin to multiply her loaves.

“It will be wholesale only,” says Silverton, “but we are going to expand the areas where the bread is available. When we get more trucks we will be able to deliver to Pasadena and the San Fernando Valley and, hopefully, Orange County.”

Silverton’s line of bread products will also expand. “Bread crumbs, croutons, some focaccia , things like that,” says Silverton. “We will even do bread sculptures.”

The new bakery might well have four times the capacity of the current bakery, but Silverton says she will increase the volume gradually, adding a little bit at a time, maintaining a strict hands-on operation. Finding enough bakers to staff the bakery is a problem. “It’s not like the restaurant business,” Silverton says, “where somebody can leave a restaurant and is qualified to work in another one.” Silverton plans to begin training her new bakers before the new bakery opens.

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“When you do bread you sort of adapt it around your environment and your schedule,” explains the baker. “We want to have a better product and we are ordering better equipment--better ovens, a better mixer, things like that. We aren’t going automated.”

I’LL BE BACK: “Maria and Arnold have their ideas, I’ve sent them a couple of menus, we need to put it all together,” says Lisa Stalvey. Arnold Schwarzenegger has just hired her to be his chef at his new Santa Monica restaurant, Schatzie’s on Main. Stalvey, who currently cooks at Granita, has quite a pedigree: She has cooked at St. Mark’s, Rebecca’s, Baja Beverly Hills, Spago, Pastel, Morton’s, L’Orangerie. A few years ago she almost had her own restaurant, J. Paul’s at the Beach. After she lost a pile of money, she told The Times, “I’m not real businessy, I’m just real creative.” She reports for work Monday.

BACK TO THE FUTURE?: The Zagat Restaurant Survey for 1992, due out next month, lists Cafe Blanc as Los Angeles’ eighth most popular restaurant. But last month there was a sign outside the Franco-Japanese restaurant saying “closed for vacation.” Now the sign at the tiny restaurant has disappeared and the telephone has been disconnected. Cafe Blanc’s predecessor at this location, Ishi’s Grill, another Franco-Japanese restaurant, also had a sudden closing. Its gifted chef, Masayuki Ishikawa, resurfaced four years later at the Sawtelle Kitchen in West Los Angeles. Be sure to pick up a copy of the 1996 Zagat Survey.

STOCK POT: Trattoria Toscana in Brentwood is offering a variety of game dishes including quail, venison, pheasant and hare through mid-December. Fresh white truffles from Alba are also featured on the menu. . . . Tra Fiori in Old Towne Pasadena has expanded its regular menu, is offering free delivery between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and has a new take-out menu featuring pizzas, pastas and salads.

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ENDINGS: Mackey’s, the American-style restaurant in Pasadena, quietly closed its doors on Nov. 17. The restaurant was less than 5 months old, and the owners blamed the economy for its untimely demise. “We had such great expectations for the restaurant,” says co-owner Michael Hawkins, “and in a better economy we would have unquestionably prospered.”


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