Beloved by locals for more than two decades, founded in 1999 in Point Loma before moving into Liberty Station in 2010, Con Pane Rustic Breads & Cafe shuttered suddenly and seemingly permanently this past January due to issues linked to an I-9 immigration audit. In her farewell message at the time, owner Catherine Perez said, “The discovery of a large number of unauthorized workers has so disrupted operations we have had no choice but to close.”
But the bakery and cafe is getting a second chapter thanks to prominent local hospitality collective, the Cohn Restaurant Group (CRG), which recently signed a deal with Perez to purchase all of Con Pane’s business assets and is planning to restart operations by late September.
CRG co-founder David Cohn and Perez are longtime friends, and Cohn says the group’s goal is to continue to operate Con Pane much as she has over the past 20 years. General manager Dania Barajas will lead day-to-day operations and in-house designer Philippe Beltran will be giving the 4,000-square-foot space, which includes a 1,000 square-foot patio, an aesthetic refresh; The Cohn Restaurant Group is currently putting together a baking team that will also run a wholesale arm, suppling to some Cohn Restaurant Group restaurants and other local eateries.
Perez is staying on as a consultant through the end of 2020, training the baking team and sharing her original recipes, so expect Con Pane fan favorites including the Chocolate Bread, Point Loma Sourdough, Almost Grilled Cheese, and the Brioche Cinnamon Rolls to return. She told Eater, “I’ve spent 20 years developing not just breads, pastries and sandwiches, but hopefully an atmosphere of warmth and community. Although I was ready to step away, I did not want the bakery to go away so I’m happy it will reopen.”