A new bakery is opening on the Peninsula, and its name won’t make it any easier on locals trying to figure out which bread house is which. Longtime pie-maker Sage Bakehouse will open its first permanent bakery and cafe space in the former Here Comes the Sun location at 8455 North Cabrillo Highway in Montara, the beachside community just north of Half Moon Bay.
The business will open in late spring 2023 and offer its pies for dine-in and take-out, with a full coffee menu from Pacifica’s Craftsman Coffee. An outdoor patio overlooks the Pacific Ocean, making the new cafe a must-see for any lovers of the sprawling Highway 1 views. “From speaking to other business owners on the coast,” owner Nick Lee says, “the only way to build something that lasts is to own it, not be beholden to landlords who could raise the rents. This is a home for my company, my family, and my community.”
The menu at the permanent location will be a lot like what the bakery has been offering at farmer’s market pop-ups. There will be 25 flavors of pies in a variety of sizes. In New Zealand, where Lee’s pastries hail from, meat pies come in a slew of shapes intended for various audiences. At Sage Bakehouse, expect everything from party pies, which are mini, to the somewhat deeper dinner pie to the family-sized, 9-inch pie, which is sliceable.
Lee and his team dally in mac n’ cheese pies, mole chicken and black bean pies, and sweet pies including strawberry rhubarb. And the new pastry team includes chefs who cut their teeth at Sierra Mar in Big Sur, a Michelin Guide favorite. A few of the items that’ll be standard at the new shop include gourmet Pop-Tarts with seasonal fruit fillings, the Jewish baked good rugelach, and hopefully croissants. Soups, salads, and roast veggies all bedeck the pies and pastries.
There are almost no Bay Area destinations for these kinds of meat pies, Lee says. And he’s brought in pie palettes and a pie assembly machine made by a small family in Sydney to keep up with the anticipated demand. The itsy bitsy community of Montara doesn’t have coffee shops or grocery stores, either, so Lee’s hoping his business can satisfy a bit of both of those needs.
The owner’s origin story began in tech. When a competitor bought his company out, he saw the opportunity to start his own business. “Coming from tech,” Lee says. “I wanted to make something that was more tangible, something that affects people’s day-to-day lives.” A couple of years prior to that, he and his wife — a Linda Mar-born-and-raised local — went to New Zealand and traveled for about a month between the two main islands. Each morning the two would get a flat white and a breakfast pie. “These were more than the Marie Callender pies I grew up on,” Lee says. His family owned 120 acres of olive trees where he grew up in SoCal. His grandfather would send him to the nearby farmer’s markets to sell the family’s harvest. So making these pies, and bringing them to the Clement Street farmer’s market near where he lived when he began the business in 2015, felt like a connection to his roots. On the first day, he sold out within two hours. “It set the tone for everything,” he says.
During COVID, pie sales skyrocketed. Farmer’s markets stayed open, labeled as essential, and Sage Bakehouse’s take-home pie business boomed. Now, he and his family live right around the corner from this new location. People have already been coming by, as Lee has the Sage Bakehouse truck popped up in front of the new space. “Half Moon Bay has been dying for new food and coffee options,” he says.
Sage Bakehouse will open at 8455 North Cabrillo Highway in late spring 2023.