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San Diego Community News Group

San Diego Community News Group

Olive Baking Co. still rolling in dough after four years

Olive Baking Co. is known for its bread, cinnamon rolls, muffins, and Kolaches.

Olive Baking Co. is known for its bread, cinnamon rolls, muffins, and Kolaches.


In 2018, Sarah Mattinson marked the 13th anniversary of Olive Cafe at 805 Santa Clara Place in Mission Beach.

This year, she’s celebrating the fourth anniversary of her companion business, Olive Baking Co. at 735A Santa Clara Place across Mission Boulevard.

Mattinson shared how her bakery came about. 

“I actually went to Italy and saw them make bread,” she said. “And I asked myself, ‘Why aren’t we making bread?’ I decided, if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it now.”

Mattinson has a relation who operates a bakery in Little Italy, from which she learned, after graduating from school, everything she could about the art of baking. 

Now it became her turn to show what she’d learned. She opened Olive Baking Co.’s doors on Sept. 26, 2015, in the heart of Mission Beach. 

Matt Spencer, who owns restaurants in the area and is close friends with Mattinson, helped her start her new business, trusting her with his family starter that his dad could personally trace back 30 years. 

Spencer’s restaurant, Firehouse, was also one of Olive Baking Co.’s first wholesale bread customers. Sarah’s friends then started asking her for bread for their restaurants. 

The beach restaurateur said her two food enterprises complement one another.

“I just love the idea we can make our own bread, and good bread,” Mattinson said. “Then we began taking on wholesale accounts. There’s a big demand for it.”

Mattinson described being in the bread-making business.

“It is a labor of love,” she said. “There is a lot of labor involved in bread making. Olive Baking Co. has become a family with love and support from our local friends who wanted our bread.”

Added Mattinson, “I have bakery in my roots.”

Olive Baking Co. also bakes bread for sister restaurant Olive Café. Along with the café, Olive Baking Co. produces bread for a number of other restaurants in San Diego including Firehouse, Grass Skirt, Duck Dive, Miss B’s, and Saska’s in the beach area, and Kettner Exchange and WhipHand in downtown San Diego, as well as Louisiana Purchase in North Park and Park 101 in Carlsbad. 

Besides bread, Olive Baking Co. is known for its cinnamon rolls, muffins, cookies, and Kolaches.  Kolaches, which have become very popular, are a savory and sweet Czech pastry. 

A number of the recipes used at Olive Baking Co. have come from family, friends, customers, and employees, said Sarah. 

Mattinson recalled starting her cafe “with one full-time employee, one part-time employee — and me.”

A lot has changed since. Her restaurant has more than doubled in size and, besides the nearby bakery, she also operates a part-time ice cream shop.

A transplant from upstate New York, Mattinson’s family wasn’t in the restaurant business. Her father was a mail carrier and later postmaster, but their family lived adjacent to a deli.

“I just loved how [the deli] was part of the community and everyone would meet there,” said Mattinson of her inspiration to become a restaurateur.

Sarah said more improvements are coming.

“We are working on bringing our salsa to the market,” she said. “It’s been a long time coming. We’ve been working with a food scientist and a co-packer to create some other flavors and get it bottled. Be on the lookout for Sarah’s Salsa on the store shelves.

Olive Baking Co.

Fourth anniversary Sept. 26

735a Santa Clara Place



chef Jonathan Cartu

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