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[whitespace] Plate o' Pastries
Photograph by George Sakkestad

Giddyup, Little Croissant: The familiar goodies at Kelly's will soon be baked and sold at a new location.

Pastry Trail

Downtown stalwart Kelly's French Pastries pulls up its pastries and moves to the West Side

By Christina Waters

WESTWARD HO! Kelly's French Pastries, for so many years a de rigueur pit-stop for exquisite pastries and expert espressos, is joining the migration out of the downtown area and into what are rapidly becoming the suburbs of Santa Cruz. Mark Sanchez, co-owner of the landmark patisserie along with wife Kelly Porter Sanchez, confirmed that the downtown bakery and retail store would close its doors on Jan. 28, reopening next summer in the spacious new building purchased on the West Side.

Like so many things, even this beloved bakery and coffeehouse wasn't quite the same after the earthquake. Oh, the pale wood banquettes, elegant brown sugar cubes and old-world pastries still welcomed the faithful. But somehow the dust never quite settled in that ill-fated neck of the woods. Many natives recall the tiny blonde dynamo who whipped up her own croissants and cakes in the small space across the courtyard from Caffe Pergolesi, which was the unofficial bohemian heart of town.

Fresh from study in Paris and armed with a $17,000 investment from her grandparents, Kelly Porter worked hard and created gorgeous pastries that soon had Santa Cruzans abandoning their diets. An institution from day one, Kelly's expanded, and soon the need for a single retail and baking facility became obvious. "We're so excited," Sanchez told me last week. "It's tough leaving the downtown, but our lease is up, and the industrial building at the corner of Swift and Ingalls came up. Now we're getting the plans together and look forward to creating a nice environment, with a central courtyard for retail customers."

After 20 years downtown, the change will be huge for Kelly and Mark, but they join some spiffy neighbors--Bonny Doon Vineyard has now moved its main operation to Ingalls Street--and a growing restaurant community sprouting on the West Side. "We're letting our customers know that the Aptos store is still open, and we're shooting for summer for the new West Side Kelly's," Sanchez adds.

Having followed Kelly's fortunes practically from the beginning--and eaten more than my fair share of the bakery's heavenly pear tart (now residing in the dessert Hall of Fame)--I for one am camping out in front of the former Brussels sprout packing plant, waiting for that first cappuccino and pain d'amande to be served. Stay tuned.

Soup's On

Chilly weather is prime time for hot soup, and the Santa Cruz AIDS Project's (SCAP) second annual fundraiser--Lovin' Spoonfuls--aims to deliver. The afternoon event will take place at the Pacific Cultural Center (corner of Seabright and Broadway) next Saturday (Feb. 3), noon-4pm.

Here's the deal. A donation of $15 or more gets you a one-of-a-kind soup bowl--made, decorated and donated by local artists and artsy folk--filled with gourmet soup and delicious breads from restaurants like Oswald's, Dharma's, Pearl Alley Bistro, Blue Sun Cafe and more. You warm up with hot soup while local musicians feed your aural appetite (not all alliteration is created equal, I admit it).

Last year, $4000 was raised for SCAP's programs and people in our community living with HIV/AIDS. Organizers want to up that ante at this year's event. For more information, don't hesitate to call Cathy Conway, SCAP's Director of Development at 427.3900; email cathyc@scapsite.org.

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From the January 24-31, 2001 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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