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the schatzi story

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2023 edition of Edible San Fernando Valley. Written by Aja Goare, photo by Tami Chu.

Every time Crissy Chapman, owner of Schatzi Cafe, serves a slice of pie, she’s reminded of her mother. “I say to myself, ‘See, Mama? Everyone loves your pie.’”

The recipe for Chapman’s apple pie, like so many other items on the menu of her young Agoura Hills café, originated with her late mother, Ursula Chapman. “My mom was from Germany and she was taught to bake with low sugar, full flavor,” says Chapman. “So that’s how I bake: reducing the sugar and using spices to let the main ingredient come through.”

My mom was from Germany and she was taught to bake with low sugar, full flavor, so that’s how I bake: reducing the sugar and using spices to let the main ingredient come through.

The food at Schatzi’s is made with sustainability and health in mind. The daughter of a man who spent his years as an herbal nutritionist, Chapman is focused on preparing food that does more than satiate; she aims to nourish and leave people healthier.

“We offer vitamin and superfood boosts like turkey tail mushrooms, serotonin boosters like ashwagandha or anti-inflammatory herbs like Indian frankincense in all our smoothies,” she says. “And 95% of the ingredients in our food are organic and use local produce.”

So, what’s on the menu?

Depends on the day. While smoothies and the New York City– sourced bagels are staples, the rest is truly up to her customers. “I let the community dictate what I serve,” says Chapman, whose business’s name means “little darling” or “little treasure” in German, her mother’s pet name for her.

“I had one customer come in and ask for something I didn’t have. I told her, ‘I don’t have it right now, but I can.’ And she said, ‘You can do that?’ Yes, I can!”

Crafting new menu items, like the Schatzzle—a triple-decker stuffed waffle with fresh peaches on the inside and blueberry compote drizzled on top—is a delight for Chapman, who relishes the opportunity to try new ideas. She describes the dish as “healthy and insanely delicious.”

It’s a far cry from the day-to-day of her previous career, managing surgical clinics for 16 years. “No one’s life is on the line if I try something new here,” she jokes.

But in some ways, Chapman does view her service at the café as lifesaving. “I grew up knowing about health and the impacts of food,” she explains. “I don’t want pesticides or toxins on our produce. I know sugar feeds cancers and other illnesses, so I stay away from it.”

Both her parents died from cancer, which only heightened her awareness of the effects of diet on the body. She sources most of her ingredients from the Agoura Hills, Thousand Oaks and Calabasas farmers’ markets and even her garden, avoiding the industrialized produce that tends to be treated with a multitude of chemicals designed to increase the product’s shelf life and defense against pests. “Aside from the bagels, we make everything ourselves here in house,” says Chapman.

Those bagels, which can be eaten as a sandwich, avocado toast or simply with cream cheese or hummus, are delivered each morning from New York City. Prior to opening the café in January, a bagel shop occupied this location and those customers continually came in asking Chapman if she would ever sell bagels. At first, the answer was no.

But at the wishes of her patrons, she spoke with the owner of a neighboring jewelry business and learned she could have the real deal rush delivered. “Customers have told me that it is the water that makes the bagels taste so good,” she says with a laugh. Customers love it.

Each item on the menu is named for a song that bears some special meaning to Chapman and her family. The “Early Morning Rain” smoothie is named for the Gordon Lightfoot song as an ode to her father, Tony Chapman. She sang the song at her father’s funeral in 2020. Made with guava, mango, pineapple and banana, it reminds Chapman of her father’s commitment to healthy eating.

“When I was in my 20s living in Germany, my father would send me money to buy organic produce from the farmers’ market. It was that important to him,” she says.

Though neither of her parents got to see the influence they had on their daughter’s career, Chapman believes both would be proud. “My mom would just be tickled to see her recipes in an actual shop. She taught me how to make authentic food with a California—aka healthy—twist,” Chapman says.

Operating out of the Whizin Market Square, Chapman says the sense of community among fellow small businesses is empowering. “We’re all neighbors here and at home. We help each other succeed,” Chapman says. “The nice thing about going to work is that it’s so full of joy and creativity. I get to make the things here I always wanted in a bakery but never found.”

the schatzi story

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2023 edition of Edible San Fernando Valley. Written by Aja Goare, photo by Tami Chu.

Every time Crissy Chapman, owner of Schatzi Cafe, serves a slice of pie, she’s reminded of her mother. “I say to myself, ‘See, Mama? Everyone loves your pie.’”

The recipe for Chapman’s apple pie, like so many other items on the menu of her young Agoura Hills café, originated with her late mother, Ursula Chapman. “My mom was from Germany and she was taught to bake with low sugar, full flavor,” says Chapman. “So that’s how I bake: reducing the sugar and using spices to let the main ingredient come through.”

My mom was from Germany and she was taught to bake with low sugar, full flavor, so that’s how I bake: reducing the sugar and using spices to let the main ingredient come through.

The food at Schatzi’s is made with sustainability and health in mind. The daughter of a man who spent his years as an herbal nutritionist, Chapman is focused on preparing food that does more than satiate; she aims to nourish and leave people healthier.

“We offer vitamin and superfood boosts like turkey tail mushrooms, serotonin boosters like ashwagandha or anti-inflammatory herbs like Indian frankincense in all our smoothies,” she says. “And 95% of the ingredients in our food are organic and use local produce.”

So, what’s on the menu?

Depends on the day. While smoothies and the New York City– sourced bagels are staples, the rest is truly up to her customers. “I let the community dictate what I serve,” says Chapman, whose business’s name means “little darling” or “little treasure” in German, her mother’s pet name for her.

“I had one customer come in and ask for something I didn’t have. I told her, ‘I don’t have it right now, but I can.’ And she said, ‘You can do that?’ Yes, I can!”

Crafting new menu items, like the Schatzzle—a triple-decker stuffed waffle with fresh peaches on the inside and blueberry compote drizzled on top—is a delight for Chapman, who relishes the opportunity to try new ideas. She describes the dish as “healthy and insanely delicious.”

It’s a far cry from the day-to-day of her previous career, managing surgical clinics for 16 years. “No one’s life is on the line if I try something new here,” she jokes.

But in some ways, Chapman does view her service at the café as lifesaving. “I grew up knowing about health and the impacts of food,” she explains. “I don’t want pesticides or toxins on our produce. I know sugar feeds cancers and other illnesses, so I stay away from it.”

Both her parents died from cancer, which only heightened her awareness of the effects of diet on the body. She sources most of her ingredients from the Agoura Hills, Thousand Oaks and Calabasas farmers’ markets and even her garden, avoiding the industrialized produce that tends to be treated with a multitude of chemicals designed to increase the product’s shelf life and defense against pests. “Aside from the bagels, we make everything ourselves here in house,” says Chapman.

Those bagels, which can be eaten as a sandwich, avocado toast or simply with cream cheese or hummus, are delivered each morning from New York City. Prior to opening the café in January, a bagel shop occupied this location and those customers continually came in asking Chapman if she would ever sell bagels. At first, the answer was no.

But at the wishes of her patrons, she spoke with the owner of a neighboring jewelry business and learned she could have the real deal rush delivered. “Customers have told me that it is the water that makes the bagels taste so good,” she says with a laugh. Customers love it.

Each item on the menu is named for a song that bears some special meaning to Chapman and her family. The “Early Morning Rain” smoothie is named for the Gordon Lightfoot song as an ode to her father, Tony Chapman. She sang the song at her father’s funeral in 2020. Made with guava, mango, pineapple and banana, it reminds Chapman of her father’s commitment to healthy eating.

“When I was in my 20s living in Germany, my father would send me money to buy organic produce from the farmers’ market. It was that important to him,” she says.

Though neither of her parents got to see the influence they had on their daughter’s career, Chapman believes both would be proud. “My mom would just be tickled to see her recipes in an actual shop. She taught me how to make authentic food with a California—aka healthy—twist,” Chapman says.

Operating out of the Whizin Market Square, Chapman says the sense of community among fellow small businesses is empowering. “We’re all neighbors here and at home. We help each other succeed,” Chapman says. “The nice thing about going to work is that it’s so full of joy and creativity. I get to make the things here I always wanted in a bakery but never found.”

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