The Bay Area's La Boulange Bakery Returns

It's been a proud month so far for San Francisco with the return of local café and bakery chain La Boulange to its original owner and founder, Pascal Rigo. Neighbors and fans gathered outside the Pine Street location—now dubbed La Boulangerie de San Francisco—as early as 7 a.m. last Monday to witness its return and bite into the bakery's signature French-inspired pastries.

It's been a long journey to last week's comeback. Back in 2012, Rigo sold all 23 locations of La Boulange to Starbucks for $100 million. The coffee giant planned to use the bakery's recipes in its shops and ultimately open 400 locations nationally. The first part happened: A variation of La Boulange's chocolate croissant and scones, along with several other items, are sold in many of the country's 12,000 Starbucks locations. But the second part of the deal never went through. (Some even speculate that the mega chain bought La Boulange just for its recipes.) And Starbucks announced early this summer that it would shutter all La Boulange locations.

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Local fans were crushed, and rumors started flying around food blogs and the Bay Area about whether Rigo would step in and save the shops. Thankfully, he did. The opening last week was the first of six that Rigo has planned over the next several weeks. In addition to the name, few other things have changed: Rigo promises that the baked goods will be a bit more rustic—but at least some of the classics like the almond croissant have returned.

It seems about right that the café is back in a local's hands. This is San Francisco after all.