The Coast News Group
Petite Madeline Bakery
Oceanside Mayor Esther Sanchez (center) visits Petite Madeline Bakery owners and mother-daughter pair Rachel Moreno (left) and Christine Loyola (right). The bakery received a grant from the California Restaurant Foundation. Photo by Samantha Nelson
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Several North County restaurants get additional COVID-19 relief

OCEANSIDE — After more than a year of adjusting and modifying business models to survive the pandemic, one downtown Oceanside bakery and another 76 restaurants throughout San Diego County were selected to receive additional funds and support services for the next year.

The California Restaurant Foundation (CRF) has been working with Wells Fargo to help restaurants throughout the state for several months now.

“We’ve been talking with Wells Fargo since December about what can we do to help small, local restaurants,” said Erin Mascho, director of development for CRF.

Wells Fargo presented a $250,000 grant to CRF on Monday, July 12, that will be used to support its Restaurants Care Resilience Fund, a program that provides up to $3,500 to keep neighborhood restaurants open.

In March, the program was started in partnership with SoCalGas, Pacific Gas and Electric, and San Diego Gas and Electric, all of which donated $1.25 million to fund the small restaurant grants as well.

The grant also helps to provide an entire year’s worth of support services including discounts on workers’ compensation and health insurance, legal advice, monthly educational learning webinars led by restaurant experts, and menu reviews to help improve their bottom lines.

A total of 318 restaurants are recipients of the “Resilience Fund” grant, 77 of which are in San Diego County. To qualify for the grants, restaurants had to be single-unit, employ fewer than 50 people, currently open, and must have lost at least 20% of revenue between 2019 and 2020.

Recipients include five Oceanside restaurants: Bliss Tea & Treats, Panca Peruvian Cuisine & Rotisserie, Rookies Restaurant & Sports Bar, The Miller’s Table and Petite Madeline Bakery. Other recipients were  Encinitas restaurants Coffee Coffee, Priority Public House, GOODONYA Organic Eatery and Eve Encinitas, as well as Chapters Café in Carlsbad and Plan 9 Alehouse in Escondido.

Petite Madeline Bakery is located on the corner of Pier View Way and North Coast Highway in downtown Oceanside. Owner Christine Loyola accepted the $250,000 in her bakery on behalf of the other restaurant recipients on Monday.

Mascho said the foundation chose recipients with great stories that are important to the local culture.

“We just knew right away that this is a special restaurant,” Mascho said about Petite Madeline.

The bakery first opened about 15 years ago further inland in Oceanside’s valley area. About 11 years ago, the city approached the bakery about moving its location to downtown as part of its redevelopment efforts.

“We really wanted something special here,” Mayor Esther Sanchez told Loyola on Monday. “We heard about your bakery and thought it would be a great place to have downtown.”

Loyola, who co-owns the bakery with her daughter Rachel Moreno, took a chance and moved her location downtown.

“I bought into the vision of Oceanside,” Loyola said. “I could see the development over the years and the continued upward growth as I saw my sales grow.”

Loyola’s customers include local regulars, families on vacation and even bicyclists riding up and down the coast. After Loyola spoke with the city about the need for bike racks outside her restaurant, the city made it happen.

During the pandemic, Loyola said she paid her staff full 8-hour days until she couldn’t anymore. The bakery shut down for a period of time until Loyola received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, a program that helped many businesses across the nation stay afloat during the pandemic.

On Monday, business was booming for Petite Madeline with a nearly full restaurant and a line of customers waiting for baked goods and drinks from Loyola’s staff members who she praised for their work.

“These are very talented people,” Loyola said. “We’re just so blessed.”

Last month, Food Network star Guy Fieri and California Restaurant Foundation gave a total of $300,000 to restaurants and individuals throughout California through the Help Restaurants Rebuild Grant.