Firebrand opens in Alameda, converts old naval warehouse into bakery cafe

Firebrand Artisan Breads Cafe in Alameda. Photo: Sara Sedillo

Alameda has a new bakery in town and it's sparking a lot of interest.

Firebrand Artisan Breads opened earlier this month at 707 West Tower Avenue at Alameda Point. It's one of the most recent businesses to convert an old naval warehouse on the west side of the island.

The new bakery was so busy on opening weekend, they had to close for an hour or so to catch up on orders, according to Cynthia Flores, who spoke with KTVU Wednesday. 

"It was really a wonderful, exciting thing to see that all of our hard work and effort come to fruition," said Flores, adding the overload of business happened during both the lunch and dinner rush.

Flores said they purchased the location two years ago to expand on their Oakland bakery that opened in 2008. They wanted to add wholesale ordering for companies like Google, and during the process of opening decided to make it a full restaurant too.

"Our thought process behind expanding business outside of Oakland was that our folks in Alameda on the island need a little fun, a little love," said Flores. "And why not make a full menu."

By partnering with Almanac Beer Company next door, they are able to serve each other's guests. Patrons can scan a QR code from their table, place an order, and it will be brought directly to them.

This means guests can sit outside and enjoy a wood-fired margherita pizza with a beer, top it off with a bombolini, and grab a loaf of sourdough on the way out.

A bombolini at Firebrand Artisan Breads Cafe in Alameda. Photo: Sara Sedillo

CEO Matt Kreutz opened Firebrand "out of my determination to make the best damn bread possible while building a business that helps people."

On average, the bakery pumps out 15,000 pieces per day of breads and pastries. 

They claim the only wood-fired oven in the East Bay, the heart of their operation. It's called the Llopis oven is handmade from Spain, assembled on-site in Alameda by three generations of the Llopis family. Its rotating hearth is supposed to mimic the high heat density found in traditional Roman ovens. 

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Firebrand makes it a point to hire those with barriers to employment, particularly people who were previously incarcerated or previously homeless. The company hopes to provide them with not only a new job, but a path to a new life.

They have partnered with Alameda County Social Services, CEO Works, Alameda County Workforce Development Board, Bay Area Community Services, and Roots Community Health Center to break those employment barriers.

"Good things happen if you feed that positivity around you," said Flores. "You're going to manifest that energy right back to you."

Firebrand in Alameda is open 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.