There is bread and then there is artisan bread. There’s the baguette that’s just a soft mass of melt-in-your mouth dough. Then there’s the baguette with texture, flavor and a crust with some crunch.
Nothing irritates Buzz more than to want to support a Point Loma newcomer (that would be Charlie’s Best Bread) only to find that the new place can’t come up with their own unique menu of breads and various sandwiches. How does Buzz know this? Well, the new guy occupies the space that the artisan bakery Con Pane Rustic Breads & Cafe had for ten years. Charlie’s moved in and instead of creating their own menu items, decided to see if they, their bread and some of their menu items could emulate those of Con Pane. They do not.
Many of Charlie’s breads are baked someplace else, as they are bagged in plastic and ready to take (just as they are at the Hillcrest Farmers Market). They do have muffins and breakfast items, roast beef, pastrami and veggie Cobb sandwiches, paninis and daily breads ( listed in exactly the same order as Con Pane). They use organic flour in some of their breads, and their prices can be higher on some items than the former tenant’s. Buzz bought challah and have had their turkey Cobb…same ingredients vastly different outcome. You’ll also find already wrapped cinnamon rolls with walnuts and raisins that for many don’t hold a candle to the light and flavorful ones at Con Pane that are never pre-wrapped.
Buzz would like to see Charlie’s find their own identity. There are a zillion sandwich combos, why not create your own? And don’t try to fool the customers who recently came in thinking it was Con Pane redone and ordered a turkey Cobb sandwich. Expectations were high–but dashed-when they tasted the wannabe Cobb (roasted turkey breast, bacon, avocado, blue cheese, roasted roma tomatoes mayonnaise and romaine lettuce). When the customer found out that Con Pane moved to Historic Decatur and Dewey Roads in Liberty Station, they rushed down and happily enjoyed the original Cobb (roasted turkey breast, applewood smoked bacon, fresh avocado, crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, house roasted roma tomatoes, mayonnaise and romaine lettuce).
Certainly it is a matter of taste as to which bakery you’ll make yours. Charlie’s also has an unfortunate parking situation as many spaces around the building are marked for the bank and other tenants. Buzz wants to see the new guy on the block succeed, though not as a copycat. If, dear reader, you’re up to it, try your own taste test with breads from each place. Buzz wants to hear from you.
You were kind. You didn’t even mention their use of styrofoam cups and plates. Yuckkkkk.
You hit on the head.
Con Pane is a world class bakery, so mimicry is expected.
agree – a disappointment for breakfast recently. Hadn’t noticed the copying aspect. Probably give Charlie’s one more try.
Love the Charlies white bread loaf, but there are some real creeps working at the PB location. No surprise on the PL location. I do wish Con Pane would put more effort into their outdoor space. Sub Ikea tables, chairs and minimal landscaping. Drop a grand on some plants and it would do wonders.
It took a bit longer than I would have liked, but we finally found the perfect teak and iron patio furniture and received it about three weeks ago ago. We also hired a new landscaper last week, so he’ll planting new flowers in our flower boxes next week. The new furniture and flowers combined with our signature red umbrellas make the perfect place to enjoy a fresh baked cinnamon roll and cup of coffee or the original Turkey Cobb sandwich and fresh brewed Iced Tea – that is, when it’s not raining!
That is great news. I know a move like you made has a to-do list a mile long. I’m sure its going to be beautiful out there. Continued success…
I’m late to the game but was out of town for most of September and missed the opening of Charlie’s. Now that I’ve been there a few times, I feel like I can comment. On one of my visits, the person at the counter came to the conclusion that I thought I was in Con Pane. He immediately made it clear that it was not Con Pane and told me where they had moved.
Charlie’s can’t be the first to try to copy some of those wonderful Con Pane breads. And in all fairness, no one has a copyright on bread names. A stroll into Vons bakery will find many of those same breads. It’s what you do with the ingredients that set you apart and Con Pane has figured it out.
Con Pane may win in the bread department but Charlie’s does have some positives. They are open 7 days per week, are friendly and greet me when I walk in, are less than a 5 minute stroll from my house, offer samples and are contributing to the gentrification of the Point.
Since Catherine from Con Pane is listening I will add one more request. Please upgrade to a better “dirty dish drop off” option. That old cabinet has seen its better days and I really don’t like bending down to the floor to deposit dishes into it.
Killer cinnamon rolls though.
I went to Charlie’s opening and yes I agree with some of the comments above in regards to copying Con Pane’s sandwiches and so forth, however, I recently went there with a friend and her daughter for lunch and they were handing samples of the new upcoming menu. We had a taste of a roasted turkey on organic squaw, a roasted chicken on rosemary focaccia, and a mushroom prosciutto rustic flat bread pizza, and I will say, I was very impressed. So we asked when will the new menu start to come back and try other items. Well folks we went back this past weekend and the new items were fabulous and I was happy to see that they have worked hard to become not only different but great at what they do. I was a very satisfied customer and will continue to support them…
in a word, Charlies sucks. Con Pane has a problem with the owner’s attitude and their product (baguettes) gets a B- grade from me.
i just found this site and love it!!! congratulations for doing such a bang up job.