Originally published on Greater Long Beach- 10/27/2011: http://greaterlongbeach.com/27/10/2011/shortnin-bread-bakery-takes-sweet-toothin-to-a-higher-place
By Jimmy Dolan
October 27, 2011|Restaurants| Photography: Sarah Bennett / Greater Long Beach
After a year and a half as an itinerant business, the niece-and-uncle team of pastry chef Justina Fenton and Keith Russell have finally opened a retail location for their Shortnin’ Bread Artisan Bakery and Creamery in the East Village Arts District.
Until getting settled in their just-so shop on 3rd and Elm, Fenton and Russell spent a couple of years transporting cookies, tarts, brownies and cakes to various farmers markets, fairs and special events.
Shortnin’ Bread has been Fenton’s dream since 2000, when she graduated from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. The concept of the shop is simple, yet also somehow unique in what Fenton calls
“today’s age of ultra-processed food.” She and her Uncle Keith focus on small-batch, handcrafted treats, and they use organic and locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. Preservatives? Never.
On the day in August that I first stopped by, Shortin’ Bread was still a soon-to-be bakery and shop. The space was still undergoing renovation. Russell showed me around, pointing out unfinished places and filling in the plans. Fenton was in Bixby Knolls selling cookies, pastries and other sweet goodies at a farmers market.
After a week-long soft opening, Shortnin’ Bread’s presence became official on Oct. 22, and the signature baked goods—along with True Beans drip and French press coffee—immediately began to go out the door.
It’s a nice place. The hospital-white interior emphasizes the proprietors’ obsession with cleanliness, creates a spacious fresh-airiness within a somewhat small room and allows the meticulously arranged displays of their signature baked goods to star. A few retro touches pay appropriate respect to the long history of these digs.
There’s also a hefty dose of Long Beach love. Fenton and Russell applied their philosophy of sourcing goods and services beyond their bakery’s ingredients—even the plumber and electrician who worked on the store are based in the Long Beach area.
“It’s the local economy that needs the money,” says Russell, “so we might as well help each other out. People have been asking if we’ll sell to stores like Whole Foods, but we’d rather deal directly with our customers.”
The owners of Shortnin’ Bread are not alone in their small business dreams. They’re the last of four new businesses to move into the storefronts on the northeast corner of 3rd and Elm, and hope their presence will attract more businesses to the struggling, yet hopeful East Village Arts District. The building formerly housed a preschool, and was separated into four retail spaces upon its closing.
Since then, it has attracted three other new stores: Durty Mick Records, The Hallway Spectacle vintage boutique, and most recently, organic florist Primal Flower. For Fenton and Russell, the location couldn’t be better.
“There’s a real exciting aspect to this location,” Russell says. “The downtown skyline is right out the window, the buses go by and people are always out walking and riding their bikes.”
But they still plan on attending farmers markets.
SHORTNIN BREAD ARTISAN BAKERY & CREAMERY • 401 E 3RD STREET • LONG BEACH • 90802 • 562.257.00 • SHORTNINBREADBAKERY.COM • TUES-SUN 10AM-6PM • CLOSED MONDAY
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