Meichelle Arntz learned to love baking as a kid. “The other kids would be outside playing, and I would be in the kitchen with my grandma, my aunts, and my mom, baking cookies,” explains Arntz, whose passion led her to open Recipes Bakery in downtown Santa Barbara nearly eight years ago. “I was always just really fascinated with all of that. So the recipes we use here are all the recipes I’ve gathered over the last 30 years.”
The collection of family recipes also serves as the inspiration for the bakery’s name. “Once a week, we would have a family-home evening,” she explained. “One of the discussions we had was what we should call the bakery. My daughter Toree said, ‘Well, the thing that makes it good is that all the recipes are from our grandma and our aunts. I think you should call it ‘Recipes’ because that’s what makes it good.’” It stuck.
Among the excitement of reaching their eight-year anniversary in January 2020 is the recent merger between Recipes Bakery and Jolly Brothers Catering, owned by Donald Hardin. “I went to a few events he was catering, and I spent some time with him,” said Arntz. “I noticed he was really talented, really a gifted chef. Plus, he is such a lovely person. I was thinking of bringing a partner in for when I eventually retire, and he’s young and ready to work his butt off.”
The partnership was finalized on November 1 and sealed with a fake wedding in Las Vegas between Arntz and Hardin, representing the marriage of their two companies. The merged company will offer catering for a range of prices, whether it’s a small birthday or a massive wedding.
Here are some things to try at Recipes, a very popular place to be when the Saturday farmers’ market is buzzing across Santa Barbara Street.
Cinnamon Rolls: “It’s our signature baked good,” said Arntz. “They are the old-fashioned yeast kind. It takes six hours to make them because you have to do a double raise. I learned how to make them from my aunt when I was 12. I’ve been ‘rolling’ for a long time!”
Australian Coffee: Her husband’s family is from Sydney. “They used to come to the States and would go off coffee because they couldn’t drink the coffee here,” she explained. “So I decided … to have Australian-style coffee.” The beans come from the Southern Hemisphere and are roasted with an Australian roasting chart. They also sell those beans to go.
Breakfast Sundae: It’s made with organic yogurt and farmers’-market berries, but also homemade granola with cashews, flax, almonds, and raisins. “Plus it’s totally gluten free,” said Arntz. “All the oats here are gluten-free.” Actually, about half of the Recipes menu is gluten-free, including the corn fritters, one of their most popular items.
604 Santa Barbara St.; (805) 965-3335; recipesbakery.com; jollybros.com