That damn. Neon. Sign. Mr. Holmes Bakehouse Highland Park
It’s been haunting the foodies of Highland Park for several months now. The simple, white walls of the shop, nestled just around the bend from Kitchen Mouse on Figueroa, are emblazoned with the words “I Got Baked in Los Angeles” in fiery, pink letters (so much pun intended here). For thousands of San Francisco dwellers, the term had been synonymous with Mr. Holmes Bakehouse (its own original sign replaced with SF rather than LA). When the storefront, which was formerly a newspaper company, revealed what it could potentially be this summer, the hype ensued. Mr. Holmes Bakehouse was ready to expand its wings to the City of Angels.
If you live in Highland Park, chances are likely that you accidentally drove by the opening lines for Mr. Holmes Bakehouse over the first weekend of October. Hard to miss, the crowds began forming at 5AM that Saturday and continued well into the following morning. With over 600 guests at their sneak preview media night, it was expected that Mr. Holmes would be a frenzy. Even in its third week of operation, lines form out the doors on weekends — and on weekdays you can find a mess of foodies who also happen to be expert selfie photographers.
Mr. Holmes Bakehouse is a croissant-based bakery born from the minds of Australian-born pastry chef Ry Stephens and Aaron Caddel, who was actually born and raised in Redlands, California before making his way to the Bay Area for Mr. Holmes. After changing his majors a good three to four times in college and working in the service industry for years, Caddel started Stanza Coffee in 2013, and eventually realized that San Francisco needed a space for wholesale pastries, thus opening Mr. Holmes with then Stanza coworker Stephens in 2014.
After seeing wild success and probably one of the most Instagrammed signs on the West Coast, Mr. Holmes has now made its way to L.A.
“I love Los Angeles. I think I identify a lot more with Angelenos, my character in general,” Caddel notes. “I like a lot of rebellious spirit that’s on the West Side, and the East Side is this whole other animal. There’s so much going on in the food scene and we’re really excited to be a part of that. All the talent I respect is coming to New York and LA, and this is the place where you can grow and develop.”
Mr. Holmes breaks a lot of rules.With highlighter pink cups, bright boxes also stapled with the signature phrase “I Got Baked in Los Angeles,” and massive, heavy pastries, the shop is so incredibly experience-based. Whether its in their product or their branding, chances are likely that you’ll find something here you can’t find anywhere else. Or on the same day, for that matter. The gang tries not to sit on the same thing for too long; They’re always experimenting.
On their social media accounts, the bakery will post the flavors of their pastries for the week, and every day features a different donut flavor and croissant flavor. For example, you can try a negroni donut, white chocolate cream brioche donut or a blood orange walnut cruffin.
Now, what is a cruffin, you ask?
This now infamous treat is a Mr. Holmes original, layers of croissant dough stacked in the shape of a muffin. In between layering, the bakers then squeeze in layers of sugary, cream flavors depending on what ingredients they choose for the week, and then stuff it into a muffin tin. This is only the most consumer-digestable way to describe the carb-filled treat, and if you were to ask Caddel what the true nature of the cruffin is, he claims there is “not a way to describe it audibly.”
I myself tried out a walnut cruffin, and while I found the pastry to be a bit dense, I was amazed by the rest of the pastry box of sugary and savory treats I devoured. The Canadian bacon-filled croissant was probably my favorite, whose stuffing was the perfect balance of sweet and salty in the soft, buttery and freshly layered dough. A close second was the strawberry jalapeno croissant, a creamy sweet mess of fruit and sugar. The jalapeno finishes each bite off with a little kick.
So, in conclusion, what to make of the hype of Mr. Holmes in Highland Park? It’s definitely worth a visit, perhaps even a few times so you can try the rotating sets of flavors that the team cycles through. For sweet tooth-minded people like myself and even those looking for something a little more savory, make your way here. Caddel and partner in crime/media coordinator Rene Montenelgo are excited to be in LA, and more importantly, excited to add to the Highland Park community.
“We’re aware that we’re coming into a new community and there’s already an existing culture here. We don’t want to change that or anything,” Montenelgo says. “We want to be a part of that community. Highland Park has such an engrained culture, and all of our neighbors are awesome.”
“There’s a lot of cool businesses opening up in this area, but it has enough rawness that we’re gonna be able to contribute to that kind of food scene and what’s going on here,” Caddel affirms.
111 S Ave 59, Los Angeles, CA 90042
Hours: Mon-Sun 8am-4pm