Schwartz’s opened its doors in June 2019, selling bagels, coffee and espresso, pastries, and breads to downtown Olympia. The baked goods and menu might look familiar to many, with good reason. Schwartz’s is an extension of San Francisco Street Bakery, which has been a staple of Olympia’s Eastside neighborhood for the past 30 years.
Long-time Olympia residents may remember Otto’s, a previous establishment owned by Gene and Judi Otto of San Francisco Street Bakery. During its glory days, Otto’s operated out of the cobalt blue building on the corner of 4th and Washington, using the part of the building that is currently The Society Bar & Nightclub to serve baked goods, breakfast and coffee. When Otto’s was sold many years ago and subsequently went out of business, downtown Olympia was left without a go-to for fresh bagels and baked goods. Now, Schwartz’s is located in an adjacent area in the same building, which is also where Cafe Vita was located prior to closing their doors.
The name of San Francisco Street Bakery’s new venue came from the son-in-law of the owners, Jeremy Schwartz. Gene and Judi, the owners, have mostly passed on the management of the business to the next generation, Carmen and Nolan Otto and Carmen’s husband, Jeremy Schwartz. The era of Otto’s took place during Carmen and Nolan’s childhood, and Gene and Judi wanted Carmen and Jeremy’s children to also experience a family bakery with their last name.
Walking into Schwartz’s, the first thing you see is a menu highlighting different espresso drinks that can be made using organic Batdorf & Bronson coffee. Around the corner from the espresso machine, a variety of danishes, scones, turnovers and cookies are displayed. Some of the most popular treats include cream cheese danishes topped with marionberries, blueberries or spiced apple, and a variety of croissants including almond, raspberry, orange marmalade, chocolate and plain. Next to the pastry case, a variety of pies and cakes can be bought either whole or by the slice, and are displayed next to eclairs, quiches and a rotating selection of confections such as rum balls and fruit tarts.
Schwartz’s offers all the same baked goods that San Francisco Street Bakery does, including fresh bread and bagels. With a good number of the bakery’s staff hailing from the East Coast, bagels are made in a traditional style, hand rolled and boiled. Breads are made from scratch, using just a few ingredients. Patrons can either purchases bagels or loaves of bread to take home, or enjoy a custom-made sandwich on any variety of bread, or a bagel toasted with flavored cream cheese.
Along with offering sweet treats, lunch items and coffee, Schwartz’s also brings a pleasant atmosphere to downtown Olympia, with walls painted the same vibrant green as the bakery, which are decorated with a rotating display of local art. When Schwartz’s first opened, it started out with a series of collages by Jeanna Murdock-Zvonchenko and Jim Burlingame, which were later rotated out for other local artists.
While Schwartz’s is the newest and most centralized downtown spin-off of San Francisco Street Bakery, a selection of their pastries, cookies and breads are also available half a mile north at San Francisco Street Bakery’s stand at the Olympia Farmers Market. The Farmers Market stand is also the only location that sells slices of focaccia with toppings such as olives and tomatoes, a remnant of the bakery’s bistro dinners. Located directly across the way from the manager’s booth at the market, the booth has been in operation since 1990. To visit the very first iteration of the family business, stop by San Francisco Street Bakery, located at 320 San Francisco Avenue NE on the Eastside of Olympia.
To enjoy one of the newest additions to downtown Olympia, stop by to get a bagel at Schwartz’s from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., open seven days a week. To see more of the selection of baked goods available, visit San Francisco Street Bakery’s website, follow Schwartz’s Instagram, or visit at 124 Fourth Avenue E, Olympia. Schwartz’s can be reached at 360-753-8553.