Al Marcus, Grateful Bread & Other Good Things
Like many small companies, Grateful Bread's story is a family one. After training at the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park and doing a stint of food science research in Dallas, Matt Marcus returned home to regroup. While considering his career options, he baked bread in his parents' kitchen, poetically deemed it Grateful Bread and sold it at Monica Pope's Saturday Farmers Market at T'afia, along with his dad's homemade charcuterie, which had been a family favorite for 30 years. It didn't take long for him to build a robust following for Grateful Bread's goodies--enough to justify his own market stand. So when Matt was lured by a restaurant job in California, he persuaded his always-smiling father to take over his growing business. Al Marcus has run the show ever since.
With Matt gone, Al closed down the baking operation and amped up Grateful Bread's line of handmade charcuterie and sauces. Besides what many swear is the best bacon in Houston, he began crafting mustards, Worcestershire and sriracha sauces, vanilla extract, ice cream and a lemon curd that's to die for. Al prides himself in making superior products using the best ingredients available. Although he buys local whenever possible, he puts quality first, which is why his pork belly comes from Nebraska. Nevertheless, everything is prepared and packaged right here in Houston at Neighborhood Centers, which provides hard-to-find production facilities for small food manufacturers. Al was their first tenant.
For Al, Grateful Bread has been an outlet for innovation and experimentation that parallels his theory that it's important to continually reinvent yourself. He recently rolled out an all-beef salami sourced from Fayette Cattle Company longhorns, as well as a new green sriracha. Always generous, Al believes in giving back. He supports Houston's burgeoning cottage food industry by advising and mentoring those who dream of entering it. "Offering a hand up, rather than a hand out, can make an incredible impact on a community," he says. At Recipe for Success, we couldn't agree more.
Last year, son Matt returned once again to Houston and launched the Eatsie Boys food truck, which was an immediate hit. The overnight success of the truck inspired a namesake storefront on Montrose Boulevard that debuted in late 2012. The truck and store both feature Grateful Bread items, including Al's chicken-poblano sausage and sriracha and hoisin sauces. Father and son have come full circle and we all benefit. Grateful Bread still has a booth at Houston's Eastside Farmers Market on Saturdays or products can be ordered online at thegratefulbread.com.