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History of Mäni’s Bakery Café

In 1989 I found the location that would become Mäni’s Bakery on Fairfax. There was no café in those days. We became a pretty popular place for healthier baked goods and espresso drinks. Before corporate coffee stores, there were coffee houses. We were one of them. People came in the mornings for a muffin, turnover or coffee cake and a really good latte or cappuccino.

Then we got a phone call one day. Mrs. Gooch’s (for all you native Angelinos here in the 80s and 90s, Mrs. Gooch’s was the premier chain of Natural Food stores before being bought by Whole Foods) had told the production company of Other People’s Money with Danny DeVito, that we could make them a baked doughnut. Danny would eat them during the filming of the movie, but Dunkin Doughnuts got the product placement in the film. Soon after that People magazine picked up this story and then it seems everyone knew about Mäni’s on Fairfax. It was the place with the healthy muffins, cakes with a cozy neighborhood feel. The next year Mäni’s made a wedding cake for 2 customers who met at Mäni’s.

I think I always wanted to have a bakery since I was a little kid. I was around 6 years old and my class was having a field trip to the Helms Bakery. Helms Bakery was the largest and most famous bakery in LA at the time with delivery trucks all over LA. They sold fresh doughnuts from flat drawers inside the truck. Does anyone remember the little fold up cardboard trucks you could get from the drivers? LA was a fun place for little kids back then. But back to Mäni’s…

So why did Mani and I start this bakery anyway? Simply we both enjoyed desserts made without sugar. And we knew we could start a viable business with that as its premise. We appreciated the healthier alternative to eating sugar desserts and believed others would feel the same. Luckily they did and you do!

In the late 90s it was apparent that food, good wholesome casual salads and sandwiches become part of Mäni’s. In 1998 we came Mäni’s Bakery Café. The concept of healthier baked goods developed from healthier bakery products to breakfast, lunch and dinner. And yes of course we’re still a ‘coffee house’ too, especially in between meal times. Almost any afternoon you’ll see people working on their laptops, editing their movie scripts, or meeting friends for a casual tea or coffee with a snack of some kind.

I’m not sure how it happened but Mäni’s seems to always have customers who are involved in Mäni’s. They’ll converse with staff and socialize with regulars. It’s only recently that we’ve dubbed these regulars, Maniacs. Pronounced either Mani Ac or Manny Ac, this is a person who comes to Mäni’s and is an integral part of who we are. These regulars help give us direction and evolve the company.

So we're hoping that these Maniacs will be commenting in our blog.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Larry Maiman, Founder