Bakery café La Boulange opened its thirteenth store in the Mercantile building on Mt. Diablo Boulevard in Lafayette today. Although there was no advertising – constituting what in the trade is known as a "soft" opening – there was no dearth of customers, many of whom had eagerly awaited the curtain call.
Seconds after the doors opened, patrons began placing orders for drinks and pastries. Emily Doan, director of operations for the San Francisco-based chain, said La Boulange will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. Hours and menu are identical to the recently opened store on Railroad Avenue in Danville. Prices are uniform throughout the chain.
They have nine stores in San Francisco, two now in Contra Costa County, and two more in Mill Valley and Novato.
Gayle Jiminez and her two children, Bianca, 18, and Colson, 10, were among the first to enter Wednesday. Gayle and her husband Jonah are housed in temporary quarters across the street, looking at homes in Lamorinda. "It's down to Lafayette or Moraga," she said, quaffing a latte served in a large, handleless bowl, as is customary in Europe. After her latte, Lafayette may have a slight edge.
One very pleasant thing the shop does: on placing an order at the counter, customers take a number and await delivery to their table. Nice. Best-selling items chain-wide? "Probably a tossup between the almond croissant and lattes," said Doan, who will spend the next week or more overseeing day-to-day activity at the store, located between Jos. A. Bank and Yankee Pier.