Husband and wife team Walter and Margarita “Marge” Manzke’s french eatery Republique opened in December 2013 in the 1920’s building that had been the home of Nancy Silverton’s famed Campanile and La Brea Bakery. The building has even more historic importance having been built in 1929 for Charlie Chaplin. The space has been restored to reflect its history and grandeur and by day, the front area is a cafe bakery featuring Marge’s artisanal breads and pastries. By night, this same space is transformed into a wine bar.
Marge Manzke was born and raised in the Philippines and she grew up in a kitchen at the White Rock Resort, a hotel and restaurant just outside Manila owned and operated by her parents. After studying pastry at Le Cordon Bleu in London, she enrolled inThe Culinary Institute of America in New York, receiving a degree in Culinary Arts.
Marge is a force as a pastry chef, but she wasn’t always in pastry. After graduation, she moved to LA and worked in several legendary restaurants including Spago and Patina, where she met her husband and business partner Walter. In 2001, she went to Mélisse and rose to sous chef. Looking for a change, the couple moved to Carmel to open several successful restaurants: Bouchée, Cantinetta Luca and l’Auberge Carmel. It was there that she became known for her bread programs, all of which was the precursor the brilliance of the bread and pastry program at Republique.
Interesting sidebar is the couple’s other venture Wildflour Cafe + Bakery, which is located in the Philippines. The couple saw an opportunity with the explosive urban growth in Manila and have opened four locations of Wildflour Cafe across Manila. Walter and Marge Manzke also opened The Farmacy soda fountain shop and are planning on exporting another made-famous-in-LA concept: Pink’s Hot Dog.