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Provence Boulangerie Opens in Manhattan Beach

Jan 12, 2015 12:52PM ● Published by DigMB Staff

Fernando Mojica and Omar Toma are back together again at a new Manhattan Beach location for Provence Boulangerie.

Situated on Highland Avenue in a small but cozy space, Owner Omar Toma and Manager Fernando Mojica want everyone to "Get Frenched" with cafe cuisine from the south of France. The duo are serving up such fare at Provence Boulangerie, which brings the two together again with the same menu as their previous success in Long Beach with the addition of three Vietnamese selections.

Omar explains that the previous short-lived occupant, Saigon Deli, owned and operated by the building owner after Toscana Deli departed, served three dishes the neighborhood came to love, so he's added pho, a combo sandwich and a marinated chicken sandwich to his traditional menu. That menu offers a wealth of interesting French sandwiches, including Saucisson et Cornichons, Jambon & Double Fromage, Tartine De Chevre, Turkey and Brie, and Prosciutto and your choice of Warm Brie, Fresh Mozzarella or Goat Cheese.

Omar and Fernando opened Provence Boulangerie on January 1 in north Manhattan Beach at 4101 Highland Avenue, and haven't looked back. The small space in north Manhattan Beach offered them an opportunity to re-open what had been a hugely successful Provence Boulangerie located on Park Avenue in Long Beach.

The Long Beach cafe was opened in 1991 by a Frenchman who ultimately returned to France, selling his popular cafe to a new owner who eventually sold to Omar. Given the cafe's booming business, Omar wanted to open in a larger space but found the move more complicated than he'd envisioned.

Now, with the new cafe in Manhattan Beach, he and Fernando want to entice locals and others to visit their cozy establishment.

"When I found this spot, I knew it was perfect," Omar told DigMB. He began moving in in December, pulling his equipment out of his garage and holding a soft opening for family and friends on December 30. 

He and Fernando quickly changed the cafe's interior seating and brought in bistro tables and chairs after crafting sleek wooden seating against the walls. The idea, he says, is to offer "quick, quality service" and a place for diners to relax. 

Other menu items include a Farmers Breakfast (three slices of brie, three slices of baguette with a sliced orange), Toast & Jam, Breakfast Bruschetta (toasted French bread with mascarpone cheese, fresh berries and honey), Ham & Cheese Croissant, Turkey & Cheese Croissant, Fresh Fruit Bowl with Honey Yogurt, Granola or Oats with milk, fresh berries and banana, and an assortment of pastries. 

In addition to those "Start the Day" menu items, there are salads, sandwiches, quiche, and soup. Omar is pleased to say all sandwiches come with fruit or salad, and that his fruit servings feature the best in berries, pears, mango and apples.

While the baguettes (you can buy them separately) and pastry selections arrive fresh daily from a Long Beach bakery, soups and quiches are Fernando's domain. On Friday, diners had a choice of carrot ginger soup or mushroom soup with feta on top. The soups and quiches are made on the premises.

Another Provence Boulangerie highlight is its vinaigrette, which is so delicious (I can vouch, I had a taste!) that it's also sold by the bottle.

And, of course, the cafe offers a variety of coffee drinks, juice, milk teas, sparkling beverages and the like.

Provence Boulangerie is open daily from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. though Omar says hours will probably grow. In summer, they will offer frozen yogurt with topping selections. Right now, he and Fernando are figuring out the area. 

On Friday, a local walked to the cafe for his second eating adventure, telling Omar he was back to try yet another item on the menu. 

Indeed, that's just the sort of thing that will keep Omar and Fernando smiling.

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