British Bake Shop

Chris Swainson, right, restocks the counter on the morning of Aug. 1, opening day at The Great British Bake Shop in Salinas.

“I think we’re going to run out.”

That troubling forecast came just before 10:30am on Monday, Aug. 1 as Chris Swainson struggled to keep pace with a constant flow of orders. As grand openings go, it was both triumph and trial.

The Great British Bake Shop, which had previously existed as a Sunday pop up at Sweet Reba’s in Carmel, welcomed guests to their permanent storefront in Salinas on Monday morning. Well before 10am, a crowd had gathered at the door. By opening time, the line stretched down the block.

It took perhaps a half an hour to creep step by step from the end of the line to the door. Yet guests were all smiles as they approached the counter.

“We’re glad you’re here,” one person told Lesley Everett, who owns the shop with Swainson. “We need variety.”

The shop specializes in meat pies—yes, there is a vegetarian option—and other treats, such as proper shortbread and butterfly cakes. Ham and egg pie is a staple, It’s what Swainson and Everett began selling under the PG Pyes banner in 2021. The sturdy pie offers the warm coziness of breakfast at grandma’s in handheld form.

Steak and ale pie compares earthy-sweet pops of carrots and peas with the husky tone of beef, while the ale delivers a nutty, bittersweet bite. It’s as if they contained your favorite stew in a buttery, flaky crust.

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And so the orders continued, friendly but relentless. “You look hot and flustered, Chris,” one customer observed with a grin.

Many who showed up at the Salinas storefront were regulars from the Carmel pop up. There were guests who slipped away from offices around the corner and those who traveled from the Peninsula.

“Our Sundays used to be like this,” Swainson says. “The mistake we made was taking pre-orders.”

A half an hour into their opening, it was apparent The Great British Bake Shop would be cleaned out long before their 4pm closing time.

Judging by the opening, perhaps Salinas’ city and business leaders should be concerned. If this sort of thing continues, employee productivity will suffer.

The Great British Bake Shop is open Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm at 8 W. Gabilan St., Salinas. 356-0005,


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