Glendale is a larger and better-known Armenian hub within Los Angeles, but the city’s top Armenian bakeries reside in the East Hollywood enclave known as Little Armenia. Sasoun Bakery and Arax Bakery share supremacy on a four-block stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard. There is definitely some overlap, but both bakeries offer unique specialties, meaning they’re both worth frequenting.
Baker David Yeretsian has built a bakery empire that includes Sasoun Bakery locations in Glendale and Reseda. Yeretsian has been at it for over twenty years, but every morning, he still manages to fill the steel shelves at his Hollywood original with torpedo-shaped cheese boereks, triangular spinach boereks and round, thin-crust lahmajunes, to name three options.
Yeretsian’s foot-long cheese boereks ($3) contain semi-sweet cheese and a smattering of red chilies. They’re incredible, simultaneously sweet, salty and spicy, with delicately crispy exteriors. Small cheese boereks ($2.50) feature a tamer flavor profile, flecked with mint.
The lahmajune ($1.00) is topped with seasoned ground beef that’s tinged with tomato. Each millimeters-thin disc features a crisp, cracker-like edge. Sasoun Bakery’s counterpeople warm most items in the massive oven before packing them in white paper bags. Lahmajunes probably benefit the most from heating.
A must have item is the disc of sesame-flavored tahini bread ($1.25). During the baking process, the sesame paste and sugar is practically caramelized, leading to what amounts to an oversized Middle Eastern cookie.
Sasoun’s only other sweet option is the caterpillar-shaped date chorek, a pastry filled with date paste and chopped walnuts that is only available in large containers.
It’s always dilemma-inducing to drive down Santa Monica Boulevard. Will it be Sasoun Bakery or Arax Bakery? There are days where I stop at both, which is really the best compromise.