Boudin SF 2_11_14

Baker Angela Ehmann, left, and head baker Irene Alvarez, right, form loaves of bread for baking at the Boudin SF “Sneak Peek Eats” event Tuesday in Vacaville. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

Local Business

Boudin SF enters Solano market, makes splash

By From page A1 | February 12, 2014

VACAVILLE — They call Freda Way the ring leader.

That’s how Way, a Vacaville resident, and her group of friends, most of them former co-workers, ended up at Boudin SF in Vacaville on Tuesday afternoon during the business’s “Sneak Peek Eats” event to benefit Opportunity House.

“We will be back,” Way said, as she and her friends left the restaurant after a filling meal and loaded with bags of fresh French bread.

The fabled restaurant and bakery with its trademark Fisherman’s Wharf flagship location is set to open Thursday. The “Sneak Peek Eats” on Tuesday was the second of three sold-out days when the restaurant does a pseudo soft opening while holding an event for a local charity.

Diners, who heard about the event from various sources, hurried to gain one of the 1,500 spots on one of the three days that sold out within a couple of days. Diners were encouraged to make donations to Opportunity House while they enjoyed a free meal and the restaurant employees ironed out any kinks that could befall the opening of any business.

Victoria Montano, the director of marketing for Boudin, said that on average the local chosen charity for each opening brings in about $5,000.

“We do (this) at all the openings,” she said. She said that Opportunity House was chosen because it meets the company’s mission of benefiting women, children and families in transition.

“Opportunity House was chosen because it provides a safe, secure, drug-free and helpful environment for homeless people and families in Solano County,” Montano said.

During the “Sneak Peek Eats” event, diners were given a set of cards that gave them a range of entrees they could order. Cards varied between the diners and changed with breakfast, lunch and dinner, giving  the “back-of-house” employees experience preparing all meals.

“It’s the only way we can ensure that ‘back-of-house’ are trained across the entire menu,” Montano said. “It helps manage the flow.” She joked that if they didn’t do it this way, the employees would be spooning clam chowder into bread bowls all day – one of the restaurant’s signature meals.

Vacaville resident Janis Rankin came for lunch with her teenage daughter Sarah Rankin. Janis Rankin said she was excited to find out the restaurant was coming to Vacaville.

“I love Boudin,” she said. “Wherever I find it, I eat it.”

Like Way and her friends, Janis Rankin will be back.

“I told my daughter I’m going to be a regular,” she said, laughing. “They’re going to have a table for me. They’ll know what I want.”

The three-day event is just one of several to mark the opening of the Vacaville Boudin location – starting with a police escort for the arrival Feb. 5 of the “Mother Dough” or sourdough starter, which was first cultured in 1849 to make the famous sourdough bread. Given its mid-1800s start, Boudin is the oldest continuously operating business in San Francisco.

The dough is leavened with wild yeast from San Francisco’s fog-enshrouded air – the original 1849 dough has been replenished with flour and water every day for 165 years, according to Boudin press materials.

Diners at the restaurant can get a bird’s eye view of bakers making the French bread as they stand in line at the brightly lit establishment located in the Nut Tree shopping center at 1620 E. Monte Vista Ave.

The first 100 people who enter Boudin in Vacaville at 9 a.m. Thursday will receive a free loaf of original sourdough bread every day for a year. It comes in the form of 365 bread cards nestled in a tin. The No. 1 spot in line is always reserved for the local food bank. In this case it will be the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano.

But don’t plan on arriving at 8:45 a.m. in an attempt to be one of those 100 people. They start lining up early – like the night before. The 100 mark is usually met by the wee hours of the morning, Boudin representatives said.

Two of Way’s friends, Susan Billias and Danette Williams, plan to be part of that crowd of 100. After lunch at Boudin’s on Tuesday they discussed times and tried to encourage their other friends to join them.

“We’re going to be in line early,” Williams said.

Opening festivities at Boudin in Vacaville will also include discounted lift tickets to the Homewood Mountain ski resort, and a daily 20 percent military discount.

The restaurant will open at 9 a.m. Thursday but regular restaurant hours will be 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

More information is available on the company’s website, www.boudinbakery.com.

Reach Susan Winlow at 427-6955 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/swinlowdr.


Discussion | 9 comments

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  • CD BrooksFebruary 12, 2014 - 6:15 am

    Really pissed about this. I've been asking that somebody solicit these people for years. Great, we keep ignoring opportunities and letting business go. Vacaville keeps getting them. I will continue going to Walnut Creek and San Francisco to get my bread.

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  • FDCFebruary 12, 2014 - 6:26 am

    You are right on, CD. But, just a reminder that Vacaville can be pretty stupid, too. Texas Roadhouse originally wanted to be in the Nut Tree area but Vacaville and the Nut Tree nuts said no, your image just doesn't belong in our high-toned place. Silly them. Texas Roadhouse is a tax-generating powerhouse. So, even Vacaville doesn't get it right all the time.

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  • CD BrooksFebruary 12, 2014 - 6:47 am

    FDC, gotta give it up, thanks for the reminder! I an grateful for the Roadhouse! :)

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  • Jason KnowlesFebruary 12, 2014 - 9:42 am

    Boudin has a place here in Roseville, too. They tend to cater to a more, uh, higher-end clientele. Trader Joe's is like that...very picky about where they put their stores.

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  • Titfortatter.February 12, 2014 - 12:37 pm

    Picky, like in Fairfield? For many years in Fairfield? I guess FF has enough "higher end clientele."

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  • Jason KnowlesFebruary 12, 2014 - 1:45 pm

    I almost moved to Visalia 5 years ago. The closest TJ's was in Fresno, an hour away. When I asked their corporate office why, that is essentially what they told me. Visalia did not "fit our target market segment." In a city with over 125,000 people!

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  • P.J.February 12, 2014 - 8:48 am

    At one time Fairfield was eager to attract business and went the extra mile so secure them, Budweiser and Jelly Belly are good examples, but retail? Look at the Gateway Shopping Center.....Linen & Thlngs - gone, has nothing in that empty space, and now World Market is gone.....isn't there one in Vacaville? We have to stop letting Vacaville be "the trendy place" to shop. We need to find another...B.Gale Wilson, who put Fairfield (besides Travis) on the map!

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  • Kene WinstonFebruary 12, 2014 - 9:22 am

    these look freshly baked..french bread for 1044?

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  • macFebruary 12, 2014 - 12:01 pm

    Because you're looking for a Great Loaf doesn't mean you'll have to go to Vacaville. Mary's Pizza carries--and sells--Sourdough bread from the Basque Boulangerie in Sonoma. About $4 for a fresh-that-day loaf.

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