History in the bakery: Girard Gourmet offers decades of experience in the service of La Jolla
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Girard Gourmet has been feeding La Jollans for 34 years and has no intention of altering its recipe for fresh and creative dishes for any meal.
The restaurant at 7837 Girard Ave., run by husband and wife La Jollans François and Diana Goedhuys, offers a wide range of baked goods and options for lunch and dinner, including salads, sandwiches and quiches.
Among the favorites, said Diana Goedhuys, is the Girard Gourmet Special sandwich, which consists of avocado, turkey, Swiss cheese, bacon, peperoncini, onions and roasted red peppers.
The seasonal fruit pies made with plums, nectarines, apricots and other fruits that the Goedhuys family grow on their farm in Julian are also popular.
“We have a small farm in the Pine Hills area,” which also has chickens that produce eggs for use in breakfast sandwiches and other items, said Diana.
“Other people live on our soups,” she said. “We make our own chicken broth, we make our own vegetable broth, every day. “
Some customers say that “the only cake they will buy for family occasions is our ‘princess cake’,” she said.
The pastry, made by François, a native of Belgium, extends to personalized cakes for all occasions.
Francois, who attended pastry school in Antwerp before owning a restaurant and bakery in Houston, specializes in “personalized cookies” with company or college logos, Diana said. “We’re kind of famous for it.”
Girard Gourmet is also a full-service caterer, taking care of “everything from dinners and receptions to memorials or baby showers and corporate catering,” she said.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, “the nature of business has changed, at least for a few months, because of all the take-out,” Diana said. “We’re used to a single sandwich or a soup and half a sandwich. Instead, you had a mom with three kids at home facing a tough grocery store situation. “
Customers “were ordering huge amounts of food which was great, but we had to organize everything,” she said. “It was very different the first few months, then it calmed down. Now we are back to the good old days.
She thanked La Jollans for her support during the pandemic. “The people were great,” she said. “They knew we were making take out and they were there, they were in line, they were waiting on the phone. They kept us open.
“We tried to take care of them, but they also took care of us and we really enjoyed that.”
Francois brought his Belgian flair to La Jolla “completely by accident,” said Diana.
On a flight from San Francisco to Houston, he relinquished his seat on the overbooked plane while arrested in San Diego. He decides to visit relatives who take him to La Jolla.
“He walked into this store,” Diana said, “and there was a girl who had the same refrigerated cabinets with no merchandise at all.… She realized she was over her head.
François returned from Houston a month later to open the business like his. Diana joined him about three years later after they got engaged.
Diana said Girard Gourmet’s popularity increased in its early years after visiting “The Unknown Eater,” a CBS / 8 television personality who reviewed local restaurants in the 1980s.
“He had come here with his microphone, asking people what they liked best and they said carrot muffin,” she said.
“From that moment, [Francois] busy, ”said Diana, who added that the carrot muffin is always popular.
La Jolla is “a diverse and interesting community. It’s really fun getting to know some of our customers, ”she said. “The funniest thing is its intergenerational aspect,” with people bringing their children and grandchildren to experience the same food they grew up on.
Staff have also been there for a long time, she said. “They know the customers and what they want. It is really funny ; they will know people I don’t know. It’s reassuring for me.
Girard Gourmet is open everyday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information visit girardgourmet.com.
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