Diamond Bakery, a gem for more than 75 years and many generations

| November 30, 2023 | 0 Comments

DEDICATED CUSTOMERS Meg and Brad Dworsky traveled from Chicago to get family favorites corn rye and mandel bread.

“I love seeing customers eat one of the baked treats for the first time or the 500th time,” says Doug Weinstein, also known as Diamond Doug. He is the newest owner of the classic bakery at 335 N. Fairfax Ave., following his spontaneous purchase in June 2021.

Diamond Bakery is a Jewish institution that’s been around since 1946. It sells traditional black-and-white cookies, assorted rugelach, bagels and apple strudel — just to scratch the surface of its offerings. However, it is most famous for its corn rye. Numerous customers claim it’s the best corn rye between here and New York.

A national following
Weinstein described how some die-hard customers come to the bakery from around the country. Some even make a point to have a stopover in Los Angeles just to make a pilgrimage to Diamond. They arrive with an empty suitcase eager to fill it with corn rye and other family favorites. In fact, while talking to Weinstein in the bakery for this article, a couple who live in Chicago — and who were visiting San Diego — drove up for the day for that exact reason.

Being a friendly and easygoing guy, Weinstein is privy to all sorts of stories from his customers. One customer came in and pointed out her mother in an enlarged 1950s photomural on the wall. In another instance, a great-grandma came in with her great grandson to buy goodies, as she had done with her own mother and grandmother. That’s five generations of a family all visiting the same bakery in the same location. Now that’s tradition.

But, Weinstein admits, business has been tough since he bought the bakery. He says, “It’s a joyful struggle.”

He’s looking into different ways of diversifying the business. One way is by making Diamond an incubator of sorts for other bakers. For example, he let Adam Shapiro, owner of Shappy’s Pretzels, bake his pretzels in the back of the bakery. Now, Diamond makes all the pretzels for Shappy’s. Weinstein feels each promotes and helps the other.

DIAMOND BAKERY owner Doug Weinstein, sits in front of a photomural of Fairfax Avenue in the 1950s. Photos by Nona Sue Friedman

But what Weinstein is really looking for is help from the community — someone with capital, someone to assist with social media and more customers to keep the bakery going for future generations. As Weinstein says, “This bakery is a time warp,” and he wants to perpetuate the store and the experience. He finds it very rewarding, and it gives him joy working at Diamond. He says the next couple of months are critical for Diamond’s survival.

So, if the holidays conjure up the desire for freshly baked treats, stop by the store Tuesday through Saturday. You can place your order in advance at 323-655-0738 or online at diamondbakeryla.com.

Please note: Since publication, Diamond Bakery has closed its retail shop. There will be a follow-up story in the January 2024 issue.

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Category: Entertainment

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