Nabolom Bakery reopens after closing in summer 2015

Aditi Raghunath/Staff

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After Nabolom Bakery’s sudden closure last summer, the neighborhood establishment reopened its doors Monday in the hopes of continuing to provide local residents with their traditional baked delights.

What started as a workers’ collective back in 1976 soon became a traditional spot for Berkeley and Elmwood residents to enjoy. Prior to the bakery closing in 2015 because of staffing issues, Nabolom Bakery was also closed once in 2005 because of financial strains.

Nabolom Collective Bakery “had been struggling for a long time,” according to Nabolom Bakery co-owner Sabra Stepak.

Nabolom reopened Monday, but no longer as a collective. Julia Elliott and Stepak — who both had strong bonds to the original Nabolom Bakery Collective since its establishment — currently co-own the bakery and will be the sole proprietors.

“Julia’s mother and best friend at the time, Lisa Murphy, used to work in Nabolom since 1978 to the early 1980s,” Stepak said.

Elliott had been playing around with the idea of opening a pizza shop for a while, Stepak said, noting that Elliott was a member of the Cheese Board Collective for 12 years. When Elliott heard about the bakery’s sudden closing, she and Stepak jumped at the opportunity to go into business together.

The bakery will continue to provide the classic and most popular items, such as cheese and fruit Danish pastries and multigrain cheese rolls. Nabolom will also incorporate new elements to the menu, such as sourdough pizza and soup.

Despite the recent changes to the bakery, both owners said they feel supported and welcomed by the community. The transition from being a collective to a two-owner establishment will be easier for them, Stepak said, because it will make the decision-making process faster and decrease the staff turnover rate.

Ara Baghdassarian, manager of La Mediterraneea local restaurant near Nabolom Bakery — said that they were looking forward to the bakery’s reopening, and that they are happy to have a neighborhood bakery again.

“We used to get our croissants from them, and we probably will be getting them again,” Baghdassarian said. “I saw the store last night (and) it looked really nice.”

Berkeley resident Sylvia Salgado, who was at the bakery reopening, said she had visited Nabolom Bakery with her son for 36 years until its closure.

“This was a wonderful place to sit with the community,” Salgado said. “They always had good Danishes and other pastries. But change happens, and sometimes these changes are for the better.”

The refurbishing of Nabolom Bakery — which included repainting the walls and rearranging the furniture — will allow the store to evolve, Stepak said, while still maintaining its unique atmosphere and its close contact with the community.

We’re funky people,” Stepak said. “It will continue to go in that direction.”

Contact Sofia Gonzalez-Platas at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @sglezplatas.