Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh CEO James Park announced that he and co-owner Michael Staenberg have made a substantial investment and acquired an equity interest in the popular café bakery brand La Boulangerie de San Francisco, founded by acclaimed French baker Pascal Rigo. The eight-unit chain—known as much for its authentic French atmosphere as its scratch-made pastries, breads, and sandwiches—has been a neighborhood staple in the Bay Area since 1995.
Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Originally known as the Pine Street bakery, and later as La Boulange, Rigo famously sold the company to Starbucks in July 2012. The coffee giant shut down the chain three years later, only to be reopened again by Rigo under its present name.
The deal brings together four talented and seasoned individuals, each with complementary skills and backgrounds. Michael Staenberg is a St. Louis–based real estate pioneer, philanthropist, and owner of three other thriving restaurant brands (Lion’s Choice, Granite City Food & Brewery, and The Shack). James Park is a restaurant growth expert and the CEO of Garbanzo. Pascal Rigo is a world-famous baker and the founder of La Boulangerie. Nicolas Bernadi is the CEO of La Boulangerie.
“Pascal is not only the most extraordinary French baker this side of the Atlantic, he is a tremendous restaurateur who has carved out a distinctive niche on the global culinary scene,” says James Park, CEO of Garbanzo. “Nicolas and I have been working on this deal for months, and I could not be more excited about the possibilities it presents for all of us. Pascal and Nicolas aren’t going anywhere … they will continue to be an integral part of our ‘dream team’ as we move forward with our plans for the future.”
Bernadi will continue in his current role at the helm of La Boulangerie.
The team will initially focus on expanding the Garbanzo and La Boulangerie brands into new and existing geographic markets. In addition, they will be developing and proving out internally generated concepts to address gaps in the dining landscape while exploring attractive acquisition opportunities.
“Today’s announcement is just the first step in an incredible journey that we are embarking on together,” Rigo says. “And that is great news for fans of fresh, high-quality and approachable French and Mediterranean cuisine.”
Garbanzo is making fresh Mediterranean cuisine a mainstream favorite across the United States. Its authentic, nutrient-rich dishes derived from Old World recipes are served with a new twist but without compromise. Every order is customized to the guest’s liking, from juicy, high-quality meats and salads made from scratch to gyros, wraps, and pita baked from scratch all day. Garbanzo is dedicated to satisfying every palate—including vegetarian and gluten-free diners—and believes that simple tastes better.