MOUNTAIN VIEW (KPIX 5) — The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a crippling blow to many industries, perhaps none more so than restaurants. But on Tuesday, there was a bright spot for one local favorite.
Last May, the then Pleasanton-based chain Specialty’s Cafe & Bakery appeared to be closed for good after going bankrupt amid the early throes of the pandemic shutdown.READ MORE: Rising Sea Level Threatens Stinson Beach Neighborhoods
Before the business bid its final farewell, it offered one last treat to customers by handing out free frozen cookie dough at its warehouse in Redwood City that set off something of a frenzy among fans.
On Middlefield Road, the street which accesses the warehouse area, there was bumper-to-bumper traffic, with many jumping out of the passenger side of vehicles to beat traffic and make the trek to the warehouse. After only one hour, they were sold out.
But now, the business is getting another shot on a smaller scale. This time, the owner says he’ll do things a little differently.
Second chances are best served fresh out of the oven. For Specialty’s co-founder and original owner Craig Saxton, this renewed opportunity is especially sweet.
“We’ve got, frankly, two decades worth of new ideas we’ve been waiting to deploy here,” said Saxton.READ MORE: Kaiser Employees Win $11.5 Million Class-Action, Race-Discrimination Lawsuit
He sold the franchise four years ago to a large corporation that went bankrupt. When it filed Chapter 7, it gave a unique opportunity for Saxton and his wife to buy the assets, but leave behind the chain’s hefty leases.
They reopened the one location in Mountain View this week.
“We found out they shut down and we were like, ‘Oh man!’ But then we saw they reopened and came here today,” said customer Anthony Torres.
It’s a unique opportunity for a do-over done with the benefit of experience.
“Mainly, what it’s allowed us to do is to rejuvenate it and do a lot of the things that we couldn’t do when we had 60+ stores,” said Saxton.
This time around, Specialty’s will run the single location in Mountain View, making everything from scratch there and waiting to see where this second chance takes them.MORE NEWS: Bay Area Teams Ready to Welcome Fans But Impact of Fake Vaccination Cards Is Unknown
“We have an informal goal that at least half of our customers — when they purchase something — they should get something still warm from the oven,” explained Saxton. “And frankly, you should ask if you do come in, because we’re baking all day long. So you shouldn’t have to get a cold cookie.”