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Pieces of Home for L.A.’s Armenian Community: Enjoy Lahamajune

Sasoun Bakery | David Yeretsian

Sasoun Bakery Header

Kneaded: L.A. Bread Stories, celebrates L.A. history, heritage, and communities through the lens of bread.

Sasoun Bakery is renowned among the L.A. Armenian community for its authentic recipes and fresh, delicious lahmajune. The 37-year-old bakery was founded by David Yeretsian. To this day, he enjoys watching his customers take that first bite of lahmajune and be won over by his family’s recipe.  We sat down with Yeretsian, and he shared the story of how he came to open up his bakery, the connection he feels to his community, and how lahmajune is Armenian comfort food. 

Sasoun Bakery David Yeretsian

My wife’s words are always with me—she said, ‘I will stand with you as long as you need me, and together we will make it through this.’ Together we are now loving life in the U.S. and enjoying sharing a little bit of our culture with our wonderful community.

David Yeretsian

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF

I was born in Sasoun in 1940, which was historically in Armenia but is present-day Turkey. I lost my mother to illness at the age of two. When I was five, my father moved my sister and me to Syria. We lived in a small village and didn’t have money growing up. I worked in many different trades to earn a little bit of money to help feed the family. There were not many options available for work when winter came along, so I decided to work at a local bakery. I worked twelve-hour days and got valuable experience and training. That was my first experience with baking at the age of eighteen. It was tough, but I needed to help make ends meet for my family. 

In 1958, I opened up my first bakery in Syria. But in 1968, due to hardships—specifically for the bakers—I left, moved to Beirut, and immediately opened another bakery. Then in 1980, I opened my second bakery. In 1985, due to the civil war, I decided to leave everything behind and move to the United States. I left my bakeries to my siblings and started over, again, in Los Angeles. In 1986, I opened my first bakery in Hollywood, and today, we have five bakeries in the Los Angeles area.
 

Sasoun Bakery David Yeretsian
Lahmajune are made fresh every day at Sasoun Bakery.
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO GET STARTED IN HOLLYWOOD?

In 1985, Hollywood had a large Armenian community with many Armenian schools and churches—so we wanted to be close to our community. Our first bakery was originally a pizza shop, so it didn’t take much to get it ready to open up Sasoun. There were a few failed businesses before us there, but I believed this was the right spot for us. We took our chances, and fortunately, things worked out very well.

Sasoun Bakery David Yeretsian
Lahmajune, are sold by the dozens at the bakery.
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT BAKING LAHMAJUNE?

Lahmajune is a food that is made of basic ingredients that we all know and love but made with a lot of care and passion. I love seeing the smile on our customers’ faces when they first try our freshly made lahmajune; they are won over on their first bite. 

Sasoun Bakery David Yeretsian

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Yeretsian expertly lays a minced meat mixture on the lahmajune dough.

sasoun bakery David Yerestian

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

The minced meat mixture is made with fresh ingredients and comes from Yeretsian’s traditional family recipe.

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Yeretsian expertly lays a minced meat mixture on the lahmajune dough.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

The minced meat mixture is made with fresh ingredients and comes from Yeretsian’s traditional family recipe.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

WHAT MEMORIES OR EMOTIONS ARISE WHILE MAKING LAHMAJUNE?

Making lahmajune takes me back to the early days of moving to the U.S.— when times were tough, and my family’s future was uncertain. My wife, four daughters, and I moved to the U.S. in search of a safer life. And seeing our lives and our bakery grow has certainly made us all happier. My wife’s words are always with me—she said, “I will stand with you as long as you need me, and together we will make it through this.” Together, we are now loving life in the U.S. and enjoying sharing a little bit of our culture with our wonderful community. 

Sasoun Bakery David

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Sasoun Bakery makes large amounts of dough to keep up with demand for their lahmajune.

Sasoun Bakery David

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Lahmajune dough is flattened throughout the day at Sasoun Bakery.

Sasoun Bakery David

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

To this day, Yeretsian, founder of the 37-year-old bakery, plays a very active role at Sasoun Bakery.

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Sasoun Bakery makes large amounts of dough to keep up with demand for their lahmajune.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Lahmajune dough is flattened throughout the day at Sasoun Bakery.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

To this day, Yeretsian, founder of the 37-year-old bakery, plays a very active role at Sasoun Bakery.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

HOW DO YOU THINK LAHMAJUNE BINDS PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY TOGETHER? 

Our lahmajune is made from a traditional family recipe that has been delighting people for many years. It is the food that our community counts on and looks forward to on all occasions. Whether they are celebrating an event or just need something familiar to comfort them, the community has always turned to Sasoun for its lahmajune. In return, Sasoun has welcomed people into our family. We are passionate about giving back to our community and helping out our loyal customers wherever possible.

Sasoun Bakery David Yeretsian
David Yeretsian (second from left) stands in the kitchen of the Glendale bakery alongside his team after a long day's work making lahmajune, beorek, maneishe, and tahini bread.
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

EXPLORE MORE FROM Sasoun bakery

To see what baking at Sasoun Bakery, check out their Facebook page and explore their five locations in the L.A. area. 

SHARE YOUR L.A. BREAD STORIES 

Do you know an L.A. breadmaker who lovingly connects to your community? Do you want to share your favorite experience at Sasoun Bakery? Join the conversation by tagging @NHMLA with #KneadedLA, and your story could be featured next!