Plant-Based Bakery in Petaluma Is Closing After ‘A Tough Summer’

The bakery, popular for its sticky cinnamon rolls, crispy pizza and “burgers” made without animal products, is closing after 18 months in business.

Plant-based bakery Magdelena’s Savories and Sweets in Petaluma is closing after 18 months in business.

Greta Canton said a trifecta of issues forced her to shutter the north Petaluma shop, including the effect of ongoing roadwork in front of her site, a lack of foot traffic and financial pressures she couldn’t overcome.

“It’s heartbreaking, but it’s just been a tough summer,” she said, noting a 15% decrease in sales from last year and skyrocketing ingredient prices.

Like many restaurants, she tried raising prices to counter costs and invested her own limited capital, but ultimately couldn’t make the numbers pencil out. Running the kitchen, serving customers and managing finances was more than she could do without a business partner.

“I was unable to support the business and extract my living expenses. I wish it were different. I wish there was more time to let the seed of Magdelena’s grow,” Canton said to fans on social media.

Though sticky cinnamon rolls, crispy pizza and even “burgers” made without animal products, including butter, eggs, milk and meat, were confusing to some customers, Canton is passionate about stretching the boundaries of what plant-based comfort food could look, and more importantly, taste like.

Canton said she still believes vegan and vegetarian restaurants have a bright future.

“Eating with sustainability and passion is possible, but for me, it wasn’t the right time,” she said. Canton noted Healdsburg’s Second Story at Little Saint, an entirely vegan restaurant helmed by Chef Stu Stalker of the acclaimed Noma restaurant in Denmark.

Like many restaurateurs, she faced ongoing increases in raw materials and slower summer business this year, something that’s been a common complaint in the industry.

“Many companies looked at their performance from (2022) in a year that was above average, and that was an anomaly,” said Tim Zahner, executive director of the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau. Though he couldn’t speak directly to Canton’s closure, he said that many in the hospitality industry faced an economically challenging summer after pent-up demand for travel and tourism to Sonoma County last year boosted the economy.

Other Sonoma County restaurants that have closed in 2023 include Tips Roadside in Kenwood, Sebastopol’s Flavor Bistro, Seafood & Eat in Windsor, Down to Earth Cafe in Cotati, Bodega Bay’s Lucas Wharf, Toad in the Hole in Santa Rosa and Amy’s Wicked Slush in Healdsburg.

“Even though we can’t make it financially, I am gratified that we were loved,” Canton said. The cafe will close permanently on Sept. 29.

Correction: A previous version of this article said that Magdelena’s Savories and Sweets in Petaluma is the only exclusively plant-based bakery in Sonoma County. Muir’s Tea Room in Sebastopol also offers plant-based baked goods and multiple bakeries throughout the county sell both conventional and plant-based food.