Old Sasoon Bakery: Celebrating Stellar Syrian Flatbreads

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Old Sasoon Bakery's history dates back to 1948.

Glendale may be better known for Middle Eastern food, but Northeast Pasadena features plenty of interesting Armenian, Lebanese and Syrian options, including sit-down restaurants, delis and Old Sasoon Bakery, a stellar Syrian food destination.

Haroutioun Geragosian began working at a bakery in Aleppo, Syria, at age 13 in order to supply his family with bread. Geragosian absorbed baking knowledge and opened his own Aleppo bakery in 1948, calling it Old Sasoon Bakery, named for a village in Armenia that his grandparents left after World War II. He relocated his family and bakery to Pasadena in 1986, selling just lahmajunes (ground beef flatbreads), cheese and spinach beorags (savory pies). Son Joseph Geragosian is now in charge of daily operations. Old Sasoon’s sign now reads “Abou Yousef,” which means “Joseph’s father” in Arabic.

Joseph is not the only Geragosian at Old Sasoon. He works alongside sister Caroline and mother Archalous. Joseph began baking at 15 and expanded Old Sasoon’s offerings to include 17 savory varieties of bread, a selection that’s unparalleled in L.A. County.

Two Daily Specials are available from 7 AM to Noon.

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Manaiesh Sandwich ($2) is truly special, and shockingly affordable, a za’atar dusted flatbread lined with mint leaves, tomatoes, green olives and crispy raw onions.

Flatbread Sandwich Los Angeles

Old Sasoon rolls up their flatbread sandwiches for easy eating. Especially with za’atar, chile and onion flatbread.

Georgian Flatbread Los Angeles

Khachapuri ($3.99) is Old Sasoon’s other special, a mammoth Georgian flatbread topped with white cheese, seasonings and raw egg that’s baked to order. Allow 10 minutes.

No matter what bread you order at Old Sasoon, it’s bound to have a winning mouth feel, soft inside and browned outside.

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For Soujouk and Cheese ($2.50) bread, Joseph makes the garlicky, spice-flecked ground beef sausage in-house. He uses white Cacique cheese, a Mexican cow’s milk cheese that doesn’t turn to plastic in the fridge.

Joseph also fills bread with basturma, sheets of Armenian cured beef, which he buys as needed down the street at Garo’s Basturma.

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Zaa’tar, Chile and Onion ($1.50) bread is basically a maneish with the added bonus of hot pepper paste and onions. The color is incredible, a rich burgundy, and the bread has a nice spice kick.

Another recent favorite was a crisp-edged pastry pocket filled with finely chopped Swiss chard (Panjar), tahini paste, onions and “seasonings.”

Two years ago, Joseph added sweets like baklava, walnut-filled cookies called mamoul, and cookies with no filling.

Baklava Los Angeles

A tray holding every kind of baklava included nut-crammed “fingers” and pistachio nests. Joseph limits the sweetness of his baklava. If you’re looking for lakes of simple syrup, Old Sasoon isn’t the place.

With advance notice, it’s worth exploring Old Sasoon’s Special Orders. Joseph makes four different kinds of lahmajune: traditional ground beef with tomato, garlic, onion and spices. There’s also ground turkey, ground mushroom, and the rarely seen Debes Rmman Lahmajune, with ground beef, pomegranate molasses pine nuts and onions. If you’re especially ambitious, it’s possible to order a 45-pound lamb, stuffed with rice pilaf, ground beef, nuts and spices.

In the future, Joseph is scouting for a second location in either Glendale or the San Fernando Valley, a sit-down spot that would allow him to make more sandwiches on maneish or lahmajune. In the meantime, it’s well worth grabbing some baked goods to go at the Pasadena original.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

The products of Old Sasoon Bakery are fresh and tasty as compare to other bakeries my friend who is living there told me.

I am an Armenian raised in Pasadena and have always enjoyed the food at Old Sasoon Bakery. I recently tried the Khachapuri there and was amazed at the amount of flavor it held inside along with other snacks such as the cheese and spinach boregs.

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