The Charming Texas Bakery Owned By Sandra Bullock

Celebrities often go into various endeavors besides acting. Their fame can be used as an excellent marketing tool and they usually have the finances to back up their enterprises. Celebrity doesn't always equate to success, however. Take for example Steven Speilberg's themed restaurant Dive!, which didn't survive; or Britney Spears' New York restaurant Nyla, which didn't last long either. Of course, there have been plenty of celebrity success stories as well, such as Hugh Jackman's The Laughing Man Coffee Shop or Ryan Reynold's Aviation Gin. What we don't see that often, though, is a celebrity trying the same style of business again once it has failed. 

Back in 2006, Sandra Bullock, of "Speed" and "The Proposal" fame, put her pennies into opening a restaurant in Austin, Texas known as "Bess Bistro." It served a combination of American, French, and Southern fare. According to the Austin American-Statesman, the restaurant started in 2006 and closed its doors in 2018 — not a bad run considering that 30% of new restaurant ventures don't survive the first 12 months (per Toast).  Only three years after the initial venture of Bess Bistro, Bullock opened another business in her hometown of Austin, known as "Walton's Fancy and Staple." This one is not just a bakery, though; it encompasses several concepts that are meant to give it the feel of an old-fashioned grocer. 

Bullock's business brings old-world charm to visitors

Sandra Bullock adopted Austin as her hometown over twenty years ago because, according to Vogue, it "wasn't New York City." "The acting thing is so beyond my control. It isn't mine," she told the magazine in 2013. "You are like a tiny piece in this big corporate mechanism that needs chemistry and divine intervention. This is mine," she said, referring to her Texas establishments at the time. 

Walton's Fancy and Staple is meant to have an old-world charm. Bullock hired architects to renovate the property on West Sixth Street telling them she wanted the place to have the "feel of an old general store and apothecary." The building, which has stood on the site for over 100 years and once had a past life as a "stagecoach depot" now houses a cafe, bakery, florist, and deli, per Austin American-Statesman.

Menu items include Southern comfort foods such as eggs with biscuits and gravy, gourmet sandwiches, and cheese plates, according to Walton's website. The menu was something that Bullock devised with the help of her chef sister, Gesine Bullock-Prado. Walton's also provides catering and has a party room that they describe as "perfect for bridal luncheons, baby showers, and birthday parties."

The idea for the store wasn't an entirely new concept. According to Visit Austin, it started life as Walton's Florist and Nursery in 1969 at Westlake Hills in Austin. Bullock gave the store a fresh start with her own special touch, moving to its new location in 2009.