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A Peek At The Ridiculously Delicious Treats At Gjusta, A New Bakery In Venice

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Gjusta, the long-awaited bakery and cafe from the folks behind Gjelina and GTA, finally opened last week to much fanfare. And it's a real looker.

Located just around the corner from the Venice Google headquarters and across the street from Gold's Gym, the massive space boasts exposed beams, endless white surfaces, tons of natural light, and what is likely one of the biggest open kitchens in the city.

And you'd better believe the staff is cranking.

On their first Saturday open, the place was a madhouse. Throngs of loyal Gjelina fans waited their turn to get the attention of the servers behind the counter. At Gjusta, there is no line for orders; it's one of those belly up to the bar situations and hope that you can lock eyes with someone who can help shepherd you along through the ordering process. At smaller coffee shops like Go Get Em Tiger this sort of thing can work, but at places like the new La Brea Bakeryand Gjusta, it can be somewhat frustrating and disorderly during a rush.

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But once you do get whisked up by their friendly, knowledgable staff, it's hard not to order all the things.

There's a case stocked with pastry chef's Nicole Rucker's cookies, croissants, cakes, scones, and utterly perfect pies. (Trust us, she was the KCRW Good Food pie champ the year we judged. Her crust was, and still is, insane.) Then there's a smoked fish counter with oil-cured Japanese sardines, gravlax, smoked trout, and herring, as well as a garde manger section filled with cheeses, terrines, charcuterie, and pates to take away. There's yet another station for sandwiches—falafel, pastrami, chicken parm, and an incredible daily butcher's selection, among others—that are all prepared on the bakery's fantastic fresh breads. And don't forget the massive deli case displaying a cornucopia of cold salads, ancient grains, and roasted heirloom veggies.

Did we mention that there's a coffee bar? Because there is, and it's stocked with 49th Parallel beans and a lovely La Marzocco espresso machine. They are also doing house-made nut milks (think almond and macadamia nut) that are pretty delightful, as well as shrubs and a variety of juices and smoothies.

Gjusta is definitely one of those places where you want to bring reinforcement; ordering a smattering of chef Travis Lett's wares and sharing with friends is the way to go. Of course, seating is a bit of an issue right now, as the stunning cobblestone patio outside is still being finished. For now, you'll be left with standing room only at the coffee bar, inventively turning the shipping crates outdoors into a makeshift table, or toting your haul to the beach.

Gjusta is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily to start, with plans for later hours coming soon. It's truly the ideal spot to stock up for a fall picnic, and given what we saw on our first visit, we'd be willing to bet it'll quickly find its groove as one of the city's best casual eateries.

Gjusta is located at Gjusta, 320 Sunset Ave., Venice, 310-314-0320

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