The Rose has long been South Park’s favorite spot for wine and an empanada or two but now the neighborhood favorite also has your mornings covered. The 10-year-old wine bar and bottle shop has turned an adjacent space, previously used for overflow and special events, into a new bakery and cafe named Secret Sister.
It’s operated quietly the past two weekends but Secret Sister launches in earnest this week on Thursday and will be open Thursday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. going forward, with just pastries and bread offered until noon and the Rose’s full menu available through the afternoon.
Heading up the baking program is Neale Holaday, a pro pastry chef who’s worked at fine dining restaurants on both coasts. Before moving to San Diego from New York City, Holaday was in charge of pastry at the Michelin-starred Betony and at Marlow & Sons and Diner, two acclaimed spots in Williamsburg.
Holaday and her husband, a chef and whole animal butcher, came to San Diego for its unrivaled local ingredients that were the focus of their popular food stall at the La Jolla farmers market, which ran for two years until the pandemic hit, and their catering outfit called Alma.
At the bakery, Holaday will always have a seasonal fruit pie, available whole or by the slice, a seasonal take on sticky buns, and a quiche whose fillings will change daily. Other staples include citrus meringue pie, dark chocolate pie. homemade ice cream, scones, cookies, coffee cake, and savory gougeres. Most of the baked goods, as well as the baguette, country loaf, and brioche buns, are based on sourdough made with a 150-year-old sourdough starter passed down from a local family.
In addition to providing bread and other items for the Rose and Mabel’s Gone Fishing, the upcoming gin and pintxos bar that co-owners Chelsea Coleman and Rae Gurne are building in North Park, Holaday plans to expand Secret Sister’s menu to offer sandwiches and laminated viennoiseries.
Though there’s drip coffee and chicory coffee, the emphasis here is more on organic teas, sourced from Samovar Tea out of San Francisco, with drinks ranging from matcha on nitro to Hong Kong milk tea, spiced chai, and variety of loose leaf teas.