By Mary O’KEEFE
or decades the Montrose Bakery was a community favorite for baked goods and breakfast, lunch and dinner. In addition to feeding the community the restaurant also hired many locals including college students. The bakery often supplied the cake for the Montrose Founder’s Day and donated to many organizations including Prom Plus.
Then in December, owner Henry Baeza announced he was going to retire and sell the business and in January the restaurant was closed – but not for long.
Elias Nakhleh is the new owner of Montrose Bakery and has made a few changes including changing the name to Café Rose. But at its foundation it is the community favorite it has always been.
“Café Rose will continue to be what Montrose Bakery used to be, with the bakery on one side and serving breakfast, lunch and dinner on the other side,” Nakhleh said. “We are keeping the same baker who has been there for 20 years.”
Nakhleh is the owner of Dish in La Cañada Flintridge and Ocean View Bar and Grill in Montrose. He understands the community and how the community feels about its town.
He has changed a few things, though.
“The menu has changed completely. It is the same idea [as the diner] but with a twist,” he said.
One of the changes he and his family are focused on is serving farm-to-table food.
“On Sunday we have the Harvest Market and we are thinking about getting fresh fruit and [vegetables] and incorporate those into our menu,” he said.
In addition to keeping the baker on the payroll, Nakhleh also kept one of Montrose Bakery’s cooks. For the two months the restaurant was closed the baker and cook were taken to Dish where they learned how to prepare some of the new items on the menu. He also kept a few others who had been with Montrose Bakery.
“We remodeled the inside and the tables, both inside and out, are all brand new,” he said.
The booths are gone, replaced by tables and chairs. There is new color on the walls, new floors, a remodeled kitchen and a new restroom.
“And our general manager is Henry,” he said.
Former owner Baeza may have retired as a restaurant owner but not from the restaurant business.
As for the name change, that came from Nakhleh’s children who came up with the idea. The “rose” came from Montrose and, once they heard it, it seemed just perfect.
Café Rose is located at 2325 Honolulu Ave. in Montrose.