When Grande Bakery closed late last October, Santa Ana lost the second oldest Mexican eatery in Orange County, and the parishioners at Our Lady of Guadalupe church found themselves without an obvious place to get pan dulce for the first time since 1951. Some of the community members, who had patronized the bakery for years, even went without tamales for the holiday season.
Well, now Grande Bakery might be coming back, and to the same neighborhood too. The City of Santa Ana has been in talks with the Grande owners, the Gallegos family, for several months and are working on an agreement that would open another Grande in the same area.
"We've been having conversations to hopefully come to an agreement," says Councilmember Vince Sarmiento, who grew up around the corner from the bakery and was one of the community members who went without tamales last year. "…We're cautiously optimistic. … I'd say the conversations have been more periodic in the last three months."
Grande Bakery closed late last year after the city eminent domained the bakery from their spot on Grand Avenue to make way for a street widening project.The Gallegos family had been at the location for three generations and owned both the strip mall they were located in and the land that the mall was located on.
Meetings with the family began in earnest, first without lawyers present, as revealed by Councilmember Sarmiento during the last Santa Ana City Council meeting. Recently, the city attorney's office has became involved to figure out the details. Though there is no definitive plan yet, Sarmiento is hopeful that the two parties are close to agreement and that one will come soon.
"We have an understanding. The family wants to come back to Santa Ana. The city wants them back," Sarmiento says. "We have the principals of the understanding. Now the rest is in the details."