Meet Your Merchant: At Treat Box, it’s all in the family |

Meet Your Merchant: At Treat Box, it’s all in the family

Colleen Moore
Special to the Sun
Courtesy Colleen MooreOwner Lee Dufresne and his son, Joe, outside of their bakery, a favorite of both locals and visitors since 1978.

TRUCKEE, Calif. – Snickerdoodle, peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, danishes, ice cream. Breakfast burritos, tri tip sandwiches, burgers. Hungry yet?

All of these delicious snacks, and more, can be found at Treat Box Bakery, a family owned and operated business. Current owner, Lee Dufresne, took over the bakery in 1978 and has never looked back. Lee and his son, Joe Dufresne, both certified bakers, can be found in the shop early in the morning, getting ready for the day.

“Everything is made from scratch,” Lee, a Master Baker by the Retain Bakery Association, explained. “All of our doughs are from scratch.”

From donuts and coffee to specialty cakes to bread to sandwiches, Treat Box Bakery has whatever you’re craving.

Lee, a lifelong baker, started baking in the Navy in 1967. When he left the service, he found himself in high demand.

“There was a shortage of bakers,” he explained. “I’ve been baking ever since.”

One out of the Navy, Lee worked in various bakeries, from Vermont to Southern California, until he finally settled in Tahoe. Once here, he started working at Treat Box Bakery, which had originally opened in 1975. Lee and his family took it over in 1978.

“(We) loved this area so much, we moved up here,” he said. “We had to adapt to the area, with altitude and what people like. We figured it out after a while.”

On busy days, the bakers can be found at Treat Box as early as 2 a.m., prepping for their 5:30 a.m. opening. Lee added that at one time, the bakery was open 24 hours a day, since he was always there, baking and preparing for the day ahead.

The bakery has an expansive menu, with everything from breakfast items (such as sandwiches and burritos) to sandwiches and burgers for lunch, as well as a full coffee and smoothie bar, and all the bakery essentials: cakes, donuts, cookies, bread and more.

“We like to continue the tradition of our own style,” Lee said of the eclectic menu. “(We) have to be diverse to survive in this town. Whatever people want, we do.”

Lee and Joe both explained that they’ve added items to the menu to adapt to their clientele. Everyone from construction workers to business people to tourists stop by the bakery, often looking for more than just pastries. The bakery added a lunch menu to accommodate the daily traffic.

“We’ll go out of our way to find a recipe or make one,” Joe said of the menu and specialty orders.

One such special order was working with Big Mouth Sandwiches, another local business, in which Lee and Joe created an Italian bread recipe to make the sandwiches on. The bakery also works with local businesses and delis, delivering bread or pastries.

When asked about their favorite items on the menu, Joe was quick to respond with chocolate bars and buttermilk donuts.

“A lot of bakeries don’t make donuts anymore,” Joe said, adding that other bakeries use frozen products, whereas the pastries at Treat Box are made fresh each morning.

The bakery also has specialty cakes and wedding cakes as well. For special orders, the bakers recommend calling a few days in advance.

For a fresh and delicious snack, or lunch, stop by Treat Box Bakery. After 34 years in Truckee, the shop is still adapting and changing to the times, while providing fresh and unique options.

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