After 33 years as an institution along Fair Oaks Boulevard since 1985, an overbold expansion has Ettore’s Bakery & Café scrambling to make ends meet.
Ettore’s Natomas production facility was abruptly closed Wednesday just over a year after it opened on West National Drive, according to multiple media reports. Owner Ettore Ravazzolo was making deliveries Thursday, a bakery employee said, and could not be reached for comment.
Ravazzolo opened the 12,500-square foot bakery last year to feed a new Roseville store and ramp up catering efforts. But Ettore’s Bakery & Cafe filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April with money owed to 100-199 creditors, and closed the Roseville store three months later.
Though Ettore’s Fair Oaks Boulevard bakery and restaurant will remain open, the company seems intent on scaling back operations after last year’s rapid expansion. A six-year contract supplying pastries to Nugget Markets throughout Northern California is set to end soon, Fox40 reported.
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Ettore Ravazzolo grew up in a Swiss orphanage, began his pastry apprenticeship as a 16-year-old in Zurich and went off to cook in an Alpine military camp 14,000 feet above sea level at age 19. He immigrated to Sacramento in 1977 with $350 to his name and no ability to speak English, and worked as a pastry chef in several southern states before returning six years later to work at Viva Croissant.
Hundred-hour weeks at the small bakery gave Ravazzolo the experience needed to open up his own shop at 2736 Fair Oaks Blvd. when Viva Croissant’s owner called it quits. His now-ex-wife Meggan Rush took over marketing and the Nugget account as Ettore’s Bakery & Cafe’s vice president after marrying the chef in 2006.
The Natomas facility, which Ravazzolo told Fox40 he decided to close Tuesday night, employed about 45 people. Ettore’s previously served customers in Folsom from 2002 to 2007.