Palm Trees, a Famous Bakery, and Mexican Food

Posted on February 27th, 2009 at 6:14 am by LisaNewton



First opening in 1931, family-owned and -operated Helms Bakery supplied local residents with its fresh-baked bread delivered “Daily at Your Door” (the Helms motto) for over 40 years. Even though the bakery is no longer baking, the Helms Bakery building remains a cherished local landmark.

Opening his bakery in 1926, Paul Helms started small but worked his way to being the premiere “neighborhood” bakery in Los Angeles. Winning the contract for the 1932 Olympics, Helms Bakery grew from its original 32 employees and 11 coaches (horse driven vehicles that delivered the freshly baked bread) to having the Helms Coaches deliver as far north as Fresno, east to San Bernardino, south to San Diego and up to the moon.

In 1969, an aggressive marketing campaign netted Helms a contract to furnish the first bread on the moon, via Apollo 11. Although their products were never sold in stores, Helms Bakeries became one of the major employers in the city.

This is remarkable because the network of freeways had not yet been built, so the trip might have taken an hour or more. Each truck would travel through its assigned neighborhoods, with the driver periodically pulling (twice) on a large handle which sounded a distinctive whistle. Customers would come out and wave the truck down, or sometimes chase the trucks to adjacent streets. Wooden drawers in the back of the truck were stocked with fresh donuts, cookies and pastries, while the center section of the truck carried dozens of loaves of freshly-baked bread. Products often reached the buyers still warm from the oven.

Now, the bakery building is the rock of the Helms Bakery District, a mecca of contemporary furniture retailers, delicious cuisine, and unique shops. Just walking around the streets and window shopping brought to mind the various rooms in my house and different design ideas I’d love to do.

Stopping for a quick bite to eat, I dropped in at Campos, a local Mexican restaurant chain. It’s not fancy, but the food is inexpensive, tastes good, and is very filling. I enjoyed the $5.00 lunch special; an enchilada, rice, and refried beans. They have a great selection of salsas to compliment my meal. I love to add a bit of spice to my rice and beans.

After you finish shopping and eating, you can walk a few blocks down National where you reach the area’s Conjunctive Points–an innovative industrial park. So bring your walking shoes and your four-legged friends.

Culver City, with its wealth of history, is definitely a warm and welcoming part of Travelin’ Local in Los Angeles.

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