Helms Bakery to Re-Open in Culver City Next Year - Digest - Los Angeles magazine

Helms Bakery to Re-Open in Culver City Next Year

Sherry Yard and Sang Yoon collaborate to bring landmark bakery back to life

Photograph by Flickr user JoeInSouthernCA [CC-BY-ND]

Awesome news for those who love the nostalgia of the old Helms Bakery in Culver City: 44 years after closing, it’s re-opening. And at the—ahem—helm will be Sherry Yard, who has served as the executive pastry chef of the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, and chef Sang Yoon (Father’s Office, Lukshon).

Expected to open in fall of 2013, the “revitalized Helms Bakery will feature a multi-space layout including a full-service restaurant for breakfast and lunch and a dedicated bakery with a take-away counter for prepared foods, as well as a retail section of specialty products” according to the press release. A preview version of the menu will be available to order from at Father’s Office 2.0 in Culver City beginning in January.

Long-time Angelenos undoubtedly remember the signature blue and yellow Helms Bakery trucks that delivered fresh pastries and bread to various neighborhoods around town from 1931 to 1969 before closing when their business model could no longer compete with “‘the irreversible reality’ of modern supermarkets” per an old L.A. Times feature on the company.

Awesome news about the re-opening aside, I also reached out to Chris Nichols, our resident L.A. history buff and eponymous author of the Ask Chris column, to see if he had a few cool Helms Bakery tidbits he could share, and naturally, he did. (Thanks Chris!)

Did you know...

  • Helms bread was carried on the Apollo 11 capsule, earning it the distinction of being the first bread on the moon.
  • Helms won the contract to supply bread to the 1932 Summer Olympic athletes, and promptly emblazoned their packaging with the branding “Helms Olympic Bread.”
  • The Helmsman statue that once sat in front of the bakery was donated to Burton W. Chace Park in Marina del Rey and is still there today.
  • LA84 Foundation, the athletic organization that Mr. Helms started now runs an amazing library and sports archive near USC, and continues to fund youth sports programs.
  • Original Helms delivery coaches can still be seen locally at the Petersen Automotive Museum and the Lyon Air Museum.
  • The Helms rooftop neon sign was restored in 2003 and is now powered by solar panels.

Helms Bakery, 8758 Venice Blvd., Culver City, helmsbakerydistrict.com

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  • 25
  1. Alvinw posted on 12/11/2012 12:48 PM
    Great! I look forward to more titles in CH!! When is the next one awarded? A true part of basketball history no doubt! As George would say, "We're back". Anyone know if they will supply the university bakery?
  2. Mama C posted on 12/17/2012 02:41 PM
    Will they be using the same recipe for their donuts/pastries that Helms used????? If so that would be soooo awesome!! Because nothing else compares!!
  3. Tony posted on 12/31/2012 07:36 AM
    Bring back the Trucks too !!!!!!
    1. gary stucker posted on 02/12/2013 01:02 PM
      @Tony and the great gelly donuts, with chocolate milk. Munich Germay
      the stuck
  4. Travel posted on 12/31/2012 05:26 PM
    It would be perfect if they brought back the antiques business that used to be part of the Helms building.
    1. TR6 posted on 10/28/2013 08:31 PM
      @Travel The Antique Guild! A west LA landmark.
  5. Fernando posted on 01/04/2013 08:03 PM
    I love the field trips to the helms bakery when I was in elementary, the sweet smell is still on my mind.
  6. Nanci Lenoci posted on 02/03/2013 11:59 AM
    Great news! Please bring back the trucks too!!!!!
    1. Maxine Clark posted on 03/18/2013 09:31 AM
      @Nanci Lenoci I grew up in West Los Angeles, and the Helms bakery truck was part of our day. Two of my brothers rode their bicycles to Culver City to Helms bakery to get a huge bag of dayold bread for 25¢. One boy held one side of the bag, and the other boy held the other side of the bag. They rode slowly and evenly so as not to spill the bag's contents. This was in the 1930's. Sometimes the Helmsman would give us carboard replicas of the Helms truck to fold and play with. I liked his whistle, too. I can't remember if the whistle had two notes or three. If someone remembers, I'd like to know. Thanks! Also, if you know which notes they were, that would be great!
  7. gary stucker posted on 02/12/2013 01:17 PM
    If they bring back the classic trucks, I will sign up to drive in the Long Beach area.

  8. ralph gonzales posted on 03/12/2013 07:37 PM
    the best glazed donuts and chocolate chip cookies. my grannie used to trade walnuts to our helms man for baked goods when i was a kid. this was in the early 60's.
  9. Julie Bug posted on 04/09/2013 10:25 PM
    I have been telling people about my wonderful memories of runny out to meet the Helms Bakery truck in the morning, when I was a child living in L.A. The toot of the truck whistle promised you the most amazing soft, warm, melt in your mouth donuts in the world. The donut man would open the doors of the truck, slide out the donut drawer and let you pick our favorite round piece of heaven. The smell of freshly baked bread, cookies and donuts, seemed to ledger in the air forever. What an amazing memory!
    I'm so delighted to here that the bakery is re-opening after all of these years. I hope that you will also have a Helms truck at the bakery for people to see when they visit the bakery.
    That would be awesome!!!
    1. Kandee Riggio posted on 10/03/2013 01:59 PM
      @Julie Bug Our Helms man always saved some Apple Spice doughnuts for my mom. Yum! Yum!
  10. Edward Endo posted on 04/27/2013 06:17 PM
    I remember seeing the Helms trucks in Cypress. Some people have told me that Helms had a branch in Anaheim. I hope the new Helms uses the old recipe. The closest bakery that has the quality of Helms is Schats bakery in Bishop California on US Highway 395. I've seen a few Ford and Chevrolet panel trucks with the old Helms bakery name being used as ice cream trucks back in the late 1970s. Someone in Anaheim had one of the Ford F-100 panel trucks Helms had owned.
  11. AHelms posted on 05/16/2013 05:35 PM
    I married into the Helms family. Christmas is amazingly yummy!
    1. Daria posted on 10/04/2013 01:36 AM
      @AHelms If someone from the Helms family has those beloved recipes from the glory days of the bakery, please pass them onto the current administrators. I was recently told that the classic recipes have been lost to the ages and that this new bakery will only be serving contemporary baked goods. I'm sure that many of us former "little Angelinos" will flock there in hopes of finding the jelly donuts and cream puffs of our memories and will be sorely disappointed to find that they will not be available.
  12. BrettP posted on 06/13/2013 06:10 AM
    You can never go back...but its wonderful when what was comes back to you.....Thx to everyone involved...Do it Right!
  13. Matt H. posted on 06/17/2013 08:55 PM
    My wife's grandpa drove a Helm's delivery truck. We still have one of the original bread boxes with 8 "bread and donut" drawers. It's precious #115. Can't wait to surprise my wife with a visit to Helm's this Fall.
  14. Weeza posted on 06/18/2013 12:41 PM
    I was just mentioning the Helms trucks t my niece. Best nutchew bars and chocolate coconut dipped cookies EVER! Will they have? If so I must vist CC even tho I now live 5,000 miles away now. Would be so worth it!
  15. David Kretovics posted on 08/21/2013 06:23 AM
    I would like to salute Sherry Yard for taking on this project, and bringing back the Helms memories to so many people. Sherry you have been such an inspiration to so many people, I thank you...
    I wish you the very best always...:)
  16. Dani posted on 10/03/2013 03:39 PM
    Hoping they'll bring back those incomparable molasses cookies. Heavenly chewy-crisp disks flecked with sparkly sugar crystals. Mmmmmm.
  17. Malorie posted on 10/04/2013 02:58 PM
    What great memories our drivers name was Mel after us kids got our doughnuts we would jump on the back of the bumper of his truck Mel would stop, we'd jump off then repeat all the way down the street.
  18. Raneydayart posted on 02/12/2014 10:38 AM
    I was in grade school in Manhattan Beach when our teachers took us on a tour of Helms Bakery in Culver City==I remember climbing a long steel staircase up to a platform high above the factory floor (before safety regs!) and looking down on the brightly colored frosting vats far below==I got a free cupcake! Whoo=hoo!!
  19. Linda Hill posted on 06/22/2014 05:01 PM
    I grew up in Long Beach and they had the best cream puffs ever. So glad they are going to re-open. Sure hope they make the cream puffs there was never one better than the Helms bakery. I look forward to coming in when you open.
  20. Linda James posted on 07/15/2014 12:45 AM
    I remember when the Helms Bakery truck would travel to my neighborhood.
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