Downtown Disney Staple La Brea Bakery Has Abruptly Closed

La Brea Bakery surprised fans and employees on January 9, 2023, when it abruptly announced that it would be permanently shuttering its café doors at the end of the day. La Brea Bakery Café in Los Angeles, California, has been a popular spot in the city for 34 years and served as the artisanal bread company's flagship, according to The Orange County Register. The brand also announced that it was closing its café location in Disneyland's Downtown Disney district, which opened with the shopping and dining area in 2001.

In a  press release, La Brea's parent company Aspire Bakeries wrote, "the company has made the strategic decision to exit the restaurant business and continue its focus on growing the La Brea Bakery business through retail grocery and food service locations." La Brea Bakery's products can be found at a number of grocery chains across the country, with more presumably coming soon. 

Additionally, the company said its franchised kiosks in Reno, Nevada, and JFK airports in New York will remain open. While La Brea also currently lists a location at Chicago's McCormick Place as open, there was no mention of it in the press release, so its long-term fate remains uncertain. There is no word on what might take the place of the Los Angeles flagship store, but Disney has already announced plans for its Anaheim location, suggesting that the amusement park, which is preparing for its 100th Anniversary, was aware of the brand's decision.

Disneyland's plan to fill the vacant location

Downtown Disney has been in a state of evolution for the past several years, as the resort has aimed to expand it into a larger shopping and dining destination. According to Southern California's Spectrum News 1, several businesses in the Downtown Disney district closed in 2018 to make way for a proposed fourth Disneyland hotel which has since been canceled. One of those businesses will be making its return in light of the La Brea announcement. 

The official Disney Parks Blog announced that longtime fan-favorite sandwich shop Earl of Sandwich would be occupying the La Brea Bakery space temporarily in February 2023, before the footprint is permanently taken over by the incoming Cuban chain Porto's Bakery. Disney noted that it announced its partnership with Porto's in September of last year, but no official opening date has been revealed. 

Eventually, Porto's will be occupying the La Brea Bakery space and Earl of Sandwich, which Spectrum News 1 notes has been operating in the Downtown Disney area as a popup since 2018. As for the La Brea employees, Spectrum reports that Disney hosted a special job fair for the Anaheim location's workers, and has said the company will find placements for them. Aspire Bakeries stated in a press release it's also working with Los Angeles cafe employees to "ease the transition."