Merced County Times Newspaper
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Old School House Bakery opens in downtown neighborhood


Move over Main Street. There’s a new downtown hangout for breakfast and lunch that’s about ten blocks from the hustle and bustle — deep in the heart of Old Town Merced — and a stone’s throw away from Applegate Park and Laura’s Fountain.

Jenny Nicole’s Old School House Bakery is a quaint, pleasant, and friendly neighborhood place located at 2649 Canal Street. It takes its name from the historic Our Lady of Mercy school building nearby on 27th Street.

“This has been a dream of mine for my whole life,” says the 43-year-old owner Jennifer Codd. “I have worked in food service since I was 19. Now I have the freedom to put my personal touch on the business and create a space where people’s ideas can flow.”

The eatery just opened in mid-December, and Codd and her staff are still getting used to their new roles. They are surrounded by homes, business offices and a health care center, but the bakery’s growing popularity extends to those who work at the County Administration Building, the County Courthouse, the Sheriff’s Department and the Merced Police Headquarters.

The Old School House Bakery is pretty much the only place of its kind in the central neighborhoods between 18th Street and Olive Avenue.

Codd says they have been doing a lot of take-out orders so far, but regulars are developing in the small dining area. When the weather gets warmer, there’s a patio outside for outdoor seating.

The menu is simple, with a few breakfast items such as Biscuits and Gravy, and lunch specials such as Marinated Tri-Tip sandwiches served with au jus, On-A-Roll Turkey or Veggie sandwiches, soups, beans, and salads. And of particular note — they feature fresh sourdough bread straight from a noted outlet, Raymonds, in San Francisco.

Of course, the Old School House Bakery also serves assorted baked goods (cookies, pastries, cakes, pies and cupcakes) created in-house, and a wide variety of hot and iced coffees.

Codd says her staff members are happy to do catering orders as well for business or community gatherings.They also plan on hosting small dining events for holidays such as Valentine’s Day.

The family-style setting of the Old School House Bakery is filled with high energy and lots of warm greetings and conversations about town happenings. Codd’s son created the artwork that adorns the seating area. There’s also a framed historic photo of the student body at Our Lady of Mercy School back in 1936. E.J. Lorenzi, a former OLM student, donated the picture. His business — Lorenzi Land and Community Investments — is now located in the renovated OLM building next door.

Codd points out that her business is entirely a family business — Her sister, Desiree Calderon, is the business manager, her daughter, Ava, works the counter and promotes the place on social media, one son, Andrew, designs the artwork and logos, another younger son, Jack, helps wash the dishes, her boyfriend prepares the meats, and her parents, Ron and Debbie Briston help with the maintenance and emotional support. Her good friend, Amy Diaz, is the kitchen manager and cake decorator. Actually, everyone who works there is considered family.

And they’re waiting to meet new customers.

Jenny Nicole’s Old School House Bakery is open from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Call ahead if needed. The number is (209) 325-4439.