The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

Carlsbad Danish Bakery: The Icing on Top of the Village for 38 Years

Photo By Nadia Razzaq
Baker Keira Chen, owner Susan Fraijo and baker Heather Curtis-Bargas pose in front of the display case. The team works seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. to fulfill custom cake orders and to provide authentic goods at the heart of the Carlsbad Village.

Laughter and light chatters fill the kitchen while doughs and fillings are prepared. The scents of freshly baked Copenhagen squares and flaked-to-perfection croissants fill the air from the early hour of 3 a.m. Display cases are filled with an abundance of pastries, cakes and quiches in preparation for a long day of customers. 

The Carlsbad Danish Bakery has embarked on the authentic bakery’s 38th year of business. Owner Susan Fraijo has continued to bring a synthesis of everything delicious in Danish culture to Carlsbad. 

The Carlsbad Danish Bakery sign on a sunny Sunday morning. The bakery offers an outdoor dining experience for those who would like to enjoy some coffee and baked goods. (Photo By Nadia Razzaq)

Fraijo became the owner of the Carlsbad Danish Bakery in June 2020. Growing up in Racine, Wisconsin, famous for being the Kringle capital of the U.S., Fraijo fostered an affinity for Danish baking. 

The bakery originally opened in 1984 under the ownership of current City Council Member Peder Norby who introduced original, scratch recipes to the local community. For some time, the bakery was under the ownership of a French couple, transforming the business’s Danish goods into French goods.

In 2020, the search for new ownership of the bakery immediately drew Fraijo’s attention as she entered retirement from her work in finance. The experienced baker decided to become the owner, embracing her passion for Danish culture through the fusion of original and new recipes. 

Being a part of a classic business in Carlsbad has been rewarding to Fraijo. She feels that her love for the culture propels her and her fellow baker’s passion for their craft. 

“We like to eat Danish,” Fraijo laughed. 

Fraijo has sheltered a community for young bakers as well, hiring culinary students like Heather Curtis-Bargas. Curtis-Bargas has worked primarily in baking, frosting and decorating cakes. She has made tons of custom, unique cakes since her initial start at the bakery in July 2021. She finds the grand reactions from customers like one woman who screamed when she saw her pop-it-themed cake last week to be one of her favorite aspects of the job. 

“When people come to pick up their cakes, we love to show them and see their reactions to their cakes,” she said. “I made [the cake] look just like the picture, she was so happy. I think that’s the first reaction I’ve ever gotten like that which is nice.” 

The opportunity to work at the local spot is not only an opportunity for aspiring bakers; Fraijo creates a second home for her employees and for customers who stop by.

“[The business is] family-oriented so it’s different than big bakeries,” Curtis-Bargas said. “You work a lot closer with everyone than you would if you worked somewhere with a ton of employees, so it’s nice that we’re all really close and we still have our own space.” 

Sage Creek senior and baker Keira Chen prepares baked goods. Chen has found the community of the bakery to be the most unique aspect of her work. (Photo By Nadia Razzaq)

While the business has grown exponentially within the past few years, concerns for the future of the bakery have arisen. The building in which the Carlsbad Danish Bakery is located is being sold, putting the business at risk. The possibility to build condo apartments in place of the building has been mentioned, something that often concerns Carlsbad’s local businesses.

“I wish people would somehow vote against that because there are a lot of new buildings down here,” Fraijo expressed. “I do have the longest lease so they’re waiting for me.”

In the meantime, Fraijo and her fellow bakers plan to enjoy the business that has and continues to prosper. The Carlsbad Danish Bakery has become a tradition in the Village for those who have grown up to the taste of their delectable goods. 

“There’s a lot of people that come in every single day and then people that come in on vacation and some people travel to come here,” Fraijo said.  “People come back and say ‘oh, I remember my parents or grandparents brought me here when I was eight years old’… We get a lot of those.” 

The Carlsbad Danish Bakery is open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fraijo expressed how the bakery is always looking to hire and offer new opportunities for the youth. 

Sage Creek senior and Danish baker Keira Chen works at the Danish bakery. She expressed the creative advantages that come with the job.

“I get to do a lot of work here and it’s just a really close-knit community that I enjoy,” Chen said. “A lot of Sage people do work here so stop by, you might see your friend!”

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