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Business

Xanadu French Bakery in Montecito Back in Business After 2010 Fire

Owner Sepi Mashhoon says she's happy to be serving customers again inside her newly restored shop on Coast Village Road

Sepideh Mashhoon has her baby back about 19 months after an electrical fire swept through her beloved Xanadu French Bakery in the Coast Village Road shopping center in Montecito.

Mashhoon, better known by her patrons as Sepi, opened the restored bakery’s doors about a week ago.

“I’ve never had this much fun working seven days a week for 12 hours a day,” Mashoon said.

After the July 2010 fire, Mashhoon said her husband asked if she wanted to move on from the bakery she purchased in 2008 or rebuild. It cost about $400,000 to reopen the bakery, about as much as it cost Mashhoon to purchase the business, at 1028 Coast Village Road.

By helping with office work at the other family business, Foodland Markets on the Westside, she knew she wanted to be behind the counter again serving and talking with customers.

“I missed talking,” she said. “It was hard not to talk.”

Customer Jayme Lee, a local resident since 1995, said the passion and love come through the ornate detail in the pastries and friendly customer service.

“When you come in here, the people make you feel like you’re a part of something,” she said.

The continental atmosphere and the miniature croissants are what keep part-time resident Jon Hendricks coming back.

“It truly looks like a European pastry shop,” he said.

Chocolate mousse ganoush is one of owner Sepi Mashhoon's <br />
favorite desserts at her Xanadu French Bakery.
Chocolate mousse ganoush is one of owner Sepi Mashhoon’s favorite desserts at her Xanadu French Bakery. (Daniel Langhorne / Noozhawk photo)

The decision to restore the shop to the same likeness — from the copper sitting bar to the chalkboard menu to the glass display cases that run the length of the store — was deliberate. Mashhoon purchased the business from the retiring former owner because she didn’t want anything about it to change.

“I didn’t change it because the customers didn’t want me to change it,” she said.

Lee said that in a small town like Montecito, people often resist change from what they are used to. She appreciates Mashhoon’s consideration for the community’s opinion.

Last year, Montecito Country Mart landlord Jim Rosenfield announced his plan to bring in more boutique and small shops geared toward a more high-end clientele. Since then he has invited retailers with locations at his shopping mall in Santa Monica — Toy Crazy, Malia Mills and James Perse — to be Xanadu’s new neighbors.

Despite these changes to the commercial landscape of the Montecito Country Mart, Mashhoon says Montecito is about family, not high-end boutiques.

“Is Santa Barbara ready for L.A. stores?” she said. “Santa Barbara has its own mix of people.”

Noozhawk intern Daniel Langhorne can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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