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OC’s First Kosher-Certified Bakery Opens in Spectrum

The Blessed Braid Builds A Following; Challah Fcous

Orange County’s eclectic collection of bakery businesses has a new entry.

The Blessed Braid, described as OC’s only bakery that offers kosher certified products, recently set up shop at the Oaks Pavilion, a small collection of retailers in the Oaks Canyon office complex in the Irvine Spectrum, near the intersection of Laguna Canyon Road and Alton Parkway.

The Olen Properties-owned building is close to the expansive headquarters of gaming company Blizzard Entertainment.

Kosher food follows traditional Jewish dietary standards, which in the bakery means nondairy, or “pareve.” It can also mean “blessed by a rabbi,” and the shop achieved its kosher certification from the Rabbinical Council of California, based in Los Angeles.

Founded and led by OC native Cheryl Honig, the bakery opened its first brick-and-mortar location in December 2021 after two years of operating out Honig’s home.

OC has numerous notable bakery businesses based here, including the domestic office of Taiwanese chain 85C Bakery Cafe and the new West Coast hub of Paris Baguette, and has been a source of expansion for LA’s famed Porto’s Bakery.


Destination Bakery

While the kosher designation of the Blessed Braid is important, Honig says she moved to cater to her non-religious customers after her first year of operations, as well by opening a more accessible shop that can also be kosher certified on a regular basis.

“It’s a destination bakery,” Honig told the Business Journal. She expects her former customers from all over Orange County to visit.

This location is also her chance to create a template for possible growth—“to pick it up and put it somewhere else,” Honig said.

Honig now counts a nine-member team to make and sell the baked goods from within the store.

She is the first member of her family to start her own business (see Women-Owned Businesses list, page 19).


Challah Beginnings

The endeavor started with Honig’s desire to make a better challah, a traditional braided bread used for Shabbat. The recipes came directly from Honig’s mother, and the bakers in the kitchen are free to innovate their own recipes for a possible spot on the menu.

Upon first opening, the store started with 10 basic menu items. For the holiday Purim this year, the bakery sold 7,741 items alone. For next year, Honig plans to expand to different holiday foods for Passover and Hanukkah.

The Blessed Braid has also gained a large wholesale account, with multiple organizations picking up challah on a weekly basis from the bakery.

Honig acknowledged the benefit of having Blizzard offices across the way from her shop, reporting the gaming company’s buildings are beginning to fill up again as workers return. She reports getting good business from the tech company.

While still in the “crawling stage” according to Honig, she plans for the Blessed Braid to benefit best from word-of-mouth advertising and expects foot traffic to grow.

“The Jews of Orange County deserve good challah,” Honig said.


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