ENCINITAS — Gordy Haskett is a household name in many North County homes. When not coaching high school cross country/track and field or advising runners at Movin Shoes, Haskett is in the kitchen. And don’t the locals know it.
July 14 marked the opening of Gordy’s Bakery, located at 441 Encinitas Blvd. The dream began in 1986 after Haskett returned from Sydney, Australia, and was taken with the coffeehouses there.
“I thought I’d open one here in downtown Encinitas, but when I went to the bank, and there were many, no one would loan me money as they said it was too risky and there really was no market for such a thing,” Haskett said. “At the time there were nine coffeehouses in San Diego.”
Determined to see his vision through, Haskett took a second mortgage of $8,000 on his condo, and with it built his first kitchen. “It was 400 square feet,” he said. “I could stand at my worktable, reach into my fridge, oven and sink without taking a step. I worked, shopped, delivered and even slept three nights a week at the bakery to make it work out.”
Said bakery was sold after 10 years, and later attempts at landing a location failed until the old Baskin-Robbins location fell in his lap.
Haskett thanks many for contributing to the dream. While he was all about the culinary growing up, his brother was into drawing and is responsible for the bakery’s art, logo, walls and chalkboards. Chris “Hux” Huxley, who once owned a chain of drive-thru coffee kiosks, helped with the coffeehouse side of things. Viking Construction, too, played a big part.
“There are a lot of nice, caring and giving people in this area who all have stepped up to help or offer advice just when I’ve needed it,” Haskett said.
As to what to expect from Gordy’s, think somewhere between Willy Wonka and Pee Wee Herman in the kitchen. “This is meant to be fun and different from your traditional type of bakery,” Haskett said. Goodies available include cakes, pies and cookies along with meat pies and sausage rolls, no doubt inspired by Haskett’s travels to England, where he worked in a country hotel, Old Jordan’s for a year.
Along with the semi usual is Haskett’s signature line. “The Plonk is what I’m known for and will be by far our biggest seller,” Haskett said. “It is a muffin that eats like a meal and something that I developed accidentally when I had my wholesale bakery. Besides the Plonk there are Fruit Bombs, Big Bangs, Blapples, Gordy Bars, Snozberry Bars, B-Bars, A-Bars, R-Bars to name a few.”
The bakery also functions as a coffee house, serving up all the same drinks found at big chain coffee houses.
For those wanting to follow in Haskett’s footsteps, he warns against the reality TV allure. “Not every baker is a soon to be discovered superstar,” he said. “This is the other half. It’s hard work, long hours, and let’s be honest the pay’s not great but the rewards tremendous. Having a complete stranger rave about something you made not knowing that they are talking to the baker who made it is a really cool feeling.”
If in the mood for something good and sweet, visit Gordy’s Bakery, open 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.