Thanksgiving might be different this year, but a family tradition that spans the generations continues at a family-owned bakery in a South Los Angeles neighborhood.
Jeanette Bolden-Pickens’ grandparents started the business that would become the 27th Street Bakery after arriving in Southern California from Louisiana. Bolden-Pickens was working before dawn Thursday, preparing and boxing up pies for her thankful holiday customers.
“They came her from Louisiana with a bunch of recipes that were handed down to them,” said Bolden-Pickens, a gold medal winner in the 4x400-meter relay at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. “And, the main staple of those recipes was sweet potato pie.”
The business started as a restaurant in the 1930s. It was a malt shop before transforming into the specialty bakery it’s known as today in 1956, becoming a slice of Los Angeles history over the decades at 2700 S. Central Ave.
Bolden-Pickens’ mother and brother took over the business in 1980. Now, she carries on the family tradition.
“All the ins and outs about baking, that was passed on to me,” Bolden-Pickens said. “I’m third generation.”
The pies are the same, but the packaging is different due to the pandemic. Items are shrink-wrapped instead of wrapped by hand before customers arrive at 9 a.m. They'll enter to see a stocked display case full of cakes and pies.
“It’s the love and the tradition. I was taught that hard work can get you far in this life, but you’ve got to love what you do. My grandfather Harry Patterson loved this bakery. My mother and my brother loved this bakery. And now, it’s up to myself, my sister and my husband to continue that love.”