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Santa Maria Sun / Eats

Crumbly goodness: Crumbles Cafe and Bake Shop in Santa Maria rocks old diner vibe and killer cookies


Once upon a time, a young journalist divided between her food column and her low-carb diet decided to venture from the warm, safe embrace of her calorie counting app and into the unpredictable, risky world of baked goods.

Her destination: Crumbles Café and Bake Shop.

Crumbles features a huge pie selection. Manager Missy Ortega particularly recommends the banana cream.

The place opened up just shy of two months ago on South Broadway Street in Santa Maria, and it holds everything a wide-eyed cookie fanatic deprived of carbs both dreads and dreams of: pies of all flavors—chocolate cream, strawberry-banana cream, key lime—you name it; Danish pastries; cookies as big as your freakin’ head.

But it doesn’t stop there: Crumbles offers a huge all-day menu featuring breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Manager Missy Ortega recommends the restaurant’s omelets and burgers, but if you’re not feeling either of those you can get a steak or some shrimp or some chili cheese fries or a salad or some Belgian waffles or any damn thing your heart desires.

As for our young conflicted journalist, she wasn’t in the mood for food of substance, so she opted for the big-as-her-freakin’-head peanut butter cookie. It was fantastic: crumbly, sweet, guilt-inducing … everything she had ever imagined from the inside of her MyFitnessPal world.

I repeatedly claim in my article that this cookie was as big as my head. Maybe I exaggerated a little—but it was definitely as big as my hand.

In its two-ish months of business, Crumbles has drummed up some serious interest from the community.

“It has been really good, really steady,” Ortega said of the restaurant’s success so far. “They’re really excited to see us, and the location is great. Lots of buzz.”

She said the restaurant is always accepting employment applications, and that anyone interested in being “treated right” by an employer should submit one.

“Our big thing here is customer service,” she said. “People are so excited to come in here. Everyone always tells us everybody looks like they’re really having a good time working here.”

Our young journalist/diet failure, cookie in hand and warm wonderment in heart, browsed the restaurant and soaked in its atmosphere. “Bakery” brings to mind a small, cozy room boasting a constant warm-cookie scent—but that’s not exactly what Crumbles has going for it.

The café and bakery manages a homey feel in a big, open space.

The space is large and it opts for more of an old-diner feel. The walls are covered in cutesy signs sporting phrases like “fresh baked pies served daily,” which is probably true. Perpendicular to the front counter stands a small bar, where customers can sit and order a slice of apple pie and enjoy the American-ness of the whole situation.

Upon her departure from Crumbles, the food columnist had become a totally different person. She was no longer divided between a way of eating and a way of life—that peanut butter cookie was a game-changer. (And a pants-size-changer.)

And here’s the real kicker, this story’s big twist: I am that young journalist. And I’m here to tell you never to let a calorie deficit talk you out of eating a seriously huge cookie every once in a while. And if you’re going to eat a seriously huge cookie, I highly recommend a trip to Crumbles Café and Bake Shop. 

Fresh baked goodness
Keep coming back to try all the pies and cookies at 1635 S. Broadway in Santa Maria. Open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. you can stop in for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Brenna Swanston kinda wants another cookie. Send your giant cookie vendor suggestions to