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Davis, California

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Best bakery: Upper Crust Baking

The iconic Davis bakery charms its patrons with beautiful and delicious baked goods


By EMMA CONDIT features@theaggie.org


If you’ve ever been to the Davis Farmers Market, you may recognize Upper Crust Baking company –– known for its friendly faces and high-quality selection of artisanal breads, pastries and baked goods. This establishment was voted the Best Bakery of Davis by 58.8% of student votes.

The bakery is located at 634 G St., just two stores up from the Davis Food Co-op. The bakery also has a second location in Winters, CA. 

Though its storefront only opened in 2019, the iconic Davis bakery has been around since 1986, when a couple, Trudy and Morris “Mo” Kalinsky, decided to bring New York-style baking to the then-rural Davis area. 

Morris began baking as a hobby. In the bakery’s early days, he and Trudy distributed their goods across 50 different farmers markets. 

“I got started baking with Julia Child’s second book, the one where she teaches you to make baguettes at home,” Morris said. “I’d come in at five in the morning, bake a bunch of baguettes a sack of flour would make 60 baguettes. We’d load up the car and we were the bread fairy. We’d give them out to restaurants so they could taste them.”

Today, Upper Crust Bakery is owned and operated by Lorin Kalinsky, Trudy and Morris’s son. Lorin shared insights from his journey at Upper Crust. 

“I kind of grew up with the bakery, and I lived away from Davis for most of my adult life,” Lorin said. “I lived in Paris for many years, and in San Francisco. I got married and had kids in France, and I moved back to Davis in 2015 and started to get involved with the bakery.” 

Lorin shared that the bakery specializes in a solid mix of Jewish-deli-style baked goods and French-inspired baking. 

The bakery’s staples include New York-style cheesecake, New York-style bagels — still made with the original recipe — Bordeaux-style baguettes and croissants. Upper Crust also makes a delicious assortment of bread, chocolate babka, Swedish cardamom buns, French canelés and much more. 

Last year, Upper Crust was hit hard when a car crashed through the front window of the store. Some were injured and the bakery was left with a plywood front wall for many months. 

“We were able to, after a long time, get the storefront reopened,” Lorin said. “Now, in the next couple days, we’re going to break ground on an outdoor patio.” 

The scary accident was caused in part by parking spaces that face directly into the bakery. By transforming those spaces into a patio, Lorin hopes to make the space safer and more welcoming. 

“It will be a nice place to hang out. We’re looking forward to having some parties and having some live music,” Lorin said. “We’re hoping to make Upper Crust a little more of a focal point for the community and do some more cool things.”

Upper Crust Baking relies on the strong connections it has made with local vendors and farmers. The bakery and all three generations of it, ensure the highest quality ingredients in its baked goods. 

“[Lorin] makes amazing things,” Trudy said. “We all really value the idea of ‘local.’ As much as possible, we buy things locally. We buy the raisins and nuts from Mariani [Premium Dried Fruit] in Winters — a lot of the ingredients are local and that’s very important.” 

Upper Crust calls this method “farm-to-oven,” a play on the traditional phrase “farm-to-fork.”

The bakery is open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Upper Crust’s owners and bakers would love to expand their reach to UC Davis students and more of the Davis community. 

“We’ve lived in California [for] so long, we identify as Californians,” Trudy said. “We’re delighted that Davis has been so welcoming and nurturing to a small business.” 

Written by: Emma Condit features@theaggie.org


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