Like many women of my era, I was a divorced mother of two small children concerned about supporting my family. I needed a job. Not just any job, but something that was creative and challenging. Easier said than done. When a friend suggested I start a bakery, well, I just laughed. Yes, I was a very good cook and baker, but my own bakery? Well, I thought he had to be kidding.
Both sold good products, but we wanted to create a line of pastries and breads that were unique, healthful, and delicious. We became a comfortable and convenient place for locals to meet, chat, and eat baked-on-the-premises pastries and breads. During the early years, I was the pastry baker keeping baker’s hours while raising two children under six years old. Often, they slept in the back of my converted, cozy VW van until it was time for school.
Some years later, I purchased the Main Squeeze restaurant next door to ODB where two of my children had an opportunity to learn the restaurant business and, eventually, become managers. It was a wonderful place to eat fresh, wholesome food at affordable prices.
I had no financial resources to purchase equipment or to secure a lease. Then I got my first business break. My grandfather said he would loan me money to help start my business. With the help of a friend, I was off and running, and in 1981, Our Daily Bread was established. At that time, Santa Barbara had only two other bakeries. One specialized in a very small line of organic wheat breads, the other just made French baguettes.
They loved running into the warm bakery with its wonderful smells and grabbing a fresh croissant and a bowl of fruit. As ODB's popularity increased, so did our menu. We now served breakfast and lunch from our cozy location on Santa Barbara St. I created recipes using fresh, local ingredients that were not only healthy, but pleasing to the eye. Sandwiches and salads were particularly fun because the ability of combining various ingredients create unique and delicious flavors.
Great, healthy food and creative recipes combined with good timing and a unique concept of wholesale bakery and cafe under the same roof helped us become a success. Both Our Daily Bread and Main Squeeze became local landmarks.