E’ville Bites Review: Bacano Bakery – Baked Goods Made from Ancient Grains with a Focus on Community

5 mins read

Good news E’villains! Bacano Bakery is finally set for its Grand Opening this Saturday, October 18th after a month-long soft opening period to work out the wrinkles. Their opening fills a need for local, fresh, grain-alternative baked goods in the city and entire East Bay. Bacano serves some of the best bread and baked goods you’ll ever eat – and it’s all gluten-free, vegetarian, and made with ancient grains. I stopped by Bacano (pronounced BAH-kah-no) for a visit with my husband during their soft opening hours last Saturday and had a wonderful experience. The baked goods were delicious and distinctive, the bakery was casual and cozy, and the owners are two great people driven by their passion for the community.

There wasn’t a thing to not like about Bacano Bakery. The baked goods were elevated to a whole new level, and much different from the majority of bakeries in the area that focus primarily on wheat-based flours. I am excited to welcome them to the neighborhood. Here’s everything you need to know about Bacano Bakery and a review of the food we had, all of which we would happily order again.

How Bacano Bakery Started

Laverne Matias, the founder, and Elan LaLonde, co-founder and business-life partner, started Bacano two years ago at the Grand Lake Farmer’s Market in Oakland. The bakery is based on the idea of celebrating ancient grains, such as sorghum, millet, teff, and various rice and nut flours. Larverne saw an opportunity to bring gluten-free into the market based on the rise in demand for a more nutritious way of eating. Just within 2 to 3 months of launch, the community’s feedback was full of love, encouragement and support.

They both care about the opportunity to put passion and creativity into something meaningful and to be a part of the movement that’s going towards a much more local and thoughtful food system.

Why Emeryville

Laverne and Elan had been looking for the past two years for a space and wanted to be in an area where they can engage with the community that’s less commercialized. When they found this place (former location of Café Aquarius), they jumped on the opportunity right away, already familiar with the establishments in the area and loving the great neighborhood vibe.

The Seating Area

The Food: There’s Something for Everyone

The baked goods are made in small batches in a dedicated gluten-free facility, from scratch and by hand. Everything is vegetarian-friendly and they are also certified as gluten-free. They are committed to no preservatives, no artificial flavors, no trans fats or GMO.

The product line and bakery is based on what customers want – they have options for everyone; vegan, paleo, dairy-free and grain-free. They like being creative and want to be a fresh local urban bakery that serves fresh bread and simple breakfast and lunch options. They currently offer a wide seasonal selection of sweet and savory pastries, breads, cakes, cookies, turnovers and empanadas. The fruits and vegetables are always fresh, local and organic and the menu changes every 2 to 3 months based on what the farmer’s have.

They also offer fair trade organic coffee, cold brews, and teas, along with juices, Kombucha, and natural sodas.

Food Review

We started off with four pastries and even after being full, we went for another one. While we were incredibly stuffed from eating five different items, we have no regrets and would gladly do it again.

Sunrise Toast

Sunrise Toast ($4.25)
This heavenly piece of toast was a favorite for both of us. It’s a slice of toasted multi-grain bread with organic mushrooms, arugula, manchego cheese & egg. The egg is cooked nicely and has a lovely richness from the semi-oozing yolk. The mushrooms are tender and the arugula adds a fresh brightness. But what really makes this special treat is the bread; nice, crunchy and slightly sweet. The gruyere cheese brings it all together.


Summer Empanadas ($4)
The summer empanadas are filled with curried cauliflower, brussels sprouts and arugula. The dough has a nice chewy, yet somewhat flaky texture. The cauliflower filling is tasty, light on the curry flavors.

Savory Bread Pudding ($4)
We were both in love with this bread pudding. It’s filled with organic swiss chard and leeks with gruyère and mozzarella cheeses. The pudding is wonderfully eggy. The leeks and chard combined with the lovely bread makes it almost tastes meaty; all the different grains add a depth to it using the sorghum, millet, teff, etc., whereas typical standard bread only has wheat in the bread.

Maple Glazed Baked Donuts w/Fresh Ginger ($3.25)
You are hit with a lovely explosion of ginger and then the nuttiness from the pecans, which have just the right amount of bite to compliment the cake-like donut texture. When we finished devouring it, I instantly wanted another one.

Fig Orange Pecan Scones ($3.50)
While most scones are on the dry side, Bacano makes a very nice moist and slightly sweet scone. The figs give it a sweet component, the orange gives it a citrus kick and the turbinado sugar and pecans have a nice satisfying crunch and flavor.

Phase 2: What to Look Forward to at Bacano Bakery

Bacano is a work in progress, so here’s what you can look forward to in the next several weeks:

  • Additions to the menu, including soups, salads, pizzas, pot pies, wraps & sandwiches and hot breakfast cereals (grains & nuts w/ fruits). They’re also working on a specialty cakes menu (think Pumpkin Caramel Rum Spice Pie with a Molasses Cookie crust) and catering menu, which will be ready in the next few weeks.
  • An additional bike rack in front, along with sidewalk seating with umbrellas and some planters. They’re also working with the City of Emeryville to get a tree planted in front to provide shade and beauty.
  • In March 2015, they plan to open the patio with tables and a lush cactus & succulents garden. If the community wants it, there will also be more seating inside the cafe. When the patio and sidewalk seating is open, they’ll be happy to accommodate dogs.
  • They are also open to local nonprofits using the space during closing hours (late afternoon/early evenings) to hold meetings.

Bacano Wants Your Feedback:

During the next couple of months they’ll be expanding the days/hours the bakery is open. They are looking for more feedback from the community, so please comment below if you have any suggestions and let us know how late do you want Bacano Bakery to be open? What days? Is weekend brunch appealing on the weekends? What about pop-ups? Feel free to email them with your suggestions at info@bacanobakery.com.

Photo Slideshow

Some additional photos of their baked goods for your enjoyment:


How to Get There:

You can expect plenty of street parking in the area but if that’s filled up, you can park in the free public lot in the Glashaus Building (Corner of Hollis & 65th). If you’re biking over, there is limited bike parking in front with plans for an additional rack soon. For now, you are welcome to bring your bike inside.


The menu changes every 2-3 months based available ingredients and season. View their Online Menu →




Wed – Fri: 7am – 2pm
Sat: 9am – 2pm


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Brenda Ton

A loyal East Bay native who's lived in Emeryville since 2012. Brenda is a food writer with a passion for exploring the local food scene and learning about the culture of food. When her mind isn’t fixated on food, she’s enjoying a bike ride along the marina. She has a weakness for salty pig parts and ice cream. Check out her food blog Bites & Bourbon

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