Hot Tin Roof
Talking with Tin Roof Bakery’s Brandon Siewert
Tin Roof Bakery turned on its ovens in 2001. After years of serving as Chico’s premiere wholesale baker, owner Brandon Siewert recently decided to try something different: a storefront, where customers can pick up bread and pastries as well as sandwiches and a cup of Joe.
Tin Roof acquired an immediate following by trucking its French-, Italian- and German-style breads and pastries to local restaurants, grocery stores and Chico’s Saturday farmers market to satisfy hungry localvores.
Moving up from its cramped 1,500-square-foot bakery on Highway 32 to a 5,000-square-foot café-cum-bakery on Broadway in downtown Chico—once the location of the home-decor store Urban Roost—Tin Roof has expanded its clientele and its menu. It now offers a variety of drinks, from Chico Chai to Santa Cruz-made Verve Coffee, and is the only café in town that brews the brand.
While the economy may have people going out to eat less often, Siewert says the bakery has seen a 20 percent increase in business. More brown-bag lunches requires more bread, and Tin Roof is ready to serve.
Why open a store in Chico?
We wanted to increase the variety of our products and get them to customers faster. The mix of products has gone from mostly bread to mostly pastries here in the café. Being open later [until 6 p.m.], we would like to encourage people to pick up bread in the evening. We were also just dying for more space.
How many local businesses use your products?
About 40 restaurants and grocery stores in Chico: Pelican’s Roost, Smokey Mountain Steakhouse, Angelo’s, Bidwell Perk, Coffee on Shasta, Sicilian Café. We supply almost all of the downtown dining with bread and pastries. Our wholesale pastries make up 5-10 percent of our business.
How has Tin Roof changed over the years?
We’ve changed our focus from grocery stores, farmers’ markets and restaurants to restaurants and wholesale. We shrank the range of distribution to only Chico back in 2005. It was very costly to handle marketing where we don’t have a lot of exposure, so we pulled out of the large grocers [in Redding and Grass Valley].
What’s on the horizon?
In three to five years, we see [opening] a satellite location. We will still maintain focus on wholesale, while possibly adding Raley’s back as a distributor. We also want to extend a catering department that will do boxed lunches, pastry trays and coffees. A Web site is coming so customers can order online.