The Model Bakery, Napa Valley’s artisan bakery and an Oprah Winfrey favorite, is opening its first shop outside wine country.
Slated for late 2022, The Model Bakery will make another home at 1315 N. Main St. in Walnut Creek, in the former La Fogata space. Much like its flagship first location in St. Helena, the bakery will offer house-baked goods and pastries, a full espresso bar and breakfast, brunch and lunch items daily. La Fogata, a longtime family-owned Mexican restaurant, closed for good in 2021 after 41 years.
Sarah Mitchell Hansen, who owns The Model Bakery with her mother, Karen Mitchell, says they chose Walnut Creek for the demographics and convenience.
“We looked at the most common zip codes of people who visit us and buy our English muffins and the Walnut Creek and Danville area was one of the top ones,” she said, adding that it’s also a quick drive to deliver bread from Napa. “Our goal is to grow as much as we can If this goes well, we may look at going down to the Peninsula, as there’s a lot of demand down there.”
Those English muffins have made Oprah’s favorites list a record four times in 2016, 2017, 2020 and 2021. The muffins are handmade using a proprietary focaccia bread dough, dusted in cornmeal and griddled in clarified butter. The result is a snappy exterior with a moist, fluffy center.
While The Model Bakery specializes in artisan breads made with organic stone-ground flours — they churn out 17 varieties daily, including sourdough rye and olive batard — the bakery is also known for its cinnamon morning buns and chocolate “rad” cookies made with espresso, as well as croissants, muffins, scones, cakes and pies. The eight sandwiches, such as the Model Chicken, made with grilled Mary’s chicken and smoked Gouda, will provide a much-needed, grab-and-go option for downtown Walnut Creek’s lunch scene.
The Model Bakery has been a part of Napa Valley’s culinary landscape for nearly 100 years. In 2008, the bakery opened a second location in downtown Napa, followed by a shop in Yountville. The Walnut Creek bakery will be its fourth location.