Exclusive: A City’s Bread Comes Home

For the first time in over two decades, the bread of John Baptiste Garacochea will be available to the public

The rise of the bakery-cafe in Los Angeles continues this summer with a return to our start(er). On July 1, Etchea—which is a phonetic spelling of etxea, the Basque word for ‘home’—is scheduled to open downtown in the Grand Promenade on Hope Street. And while the storefront will be shiny and new, the bread, made by John Baptiste Garacochea, will be an heirloom.

Garacochea is the great-grandson of a Basque immigrant who began the family bakery that became L.A.’s iconic Pioneer Bakery, which lived for many years on Rose Avenue in Venice. That building is now the site of a new apartment complex.

In 2011, managing editor Ann Herold told the Garacochea family story in her “The Sons Also Rise.” That tasty tale follows the family, which is of Basque and Italian origin, through the best bakeries and restaurants in Los Angeles, and includes links to Bay Cities Deli, Nancy Silverton, and the emergence in the 1990s of par-baked bread. This year, Garacochea partners with Christine Splichal, Linda Griego (former L.A. deputy mayor), and chef Laurent Quenioux (Vertical Wine Bar, LQ pops-up) to restart a family tradition.

Etchea will serve loaves from the family’s wholesale bakery, Etxea, which is based in Hawthorne. The menu, by Laurent Quenioux, will feature soups, sandwiches, salads, entrees, and desserts made in the Basque fashion. The quartet hopes to bring the spirit of John Baptiste’s great grandfather back to the Los Angeles public, where a new taste for wholesome, artisan bread has re-emerged.

Sign up on the bakery’s website to receive a free baguette when the cafe opens this July.

Etchea, 254 South Hope Street, Los Angeles 90012, etcheabakery.com