Eugenia Theodosopoulos of Essence Bakery Cafe on Her New Phoenix Location and Her Awesome Lime Green Stand Mixer, Arnault
Lauren Saria Eugenia Theodosopoulos of Essence Bakery
Essence Bakery and Café
It's been a busy few weeks for Essence Bakery owner and chef Eugenia Theodosopoulos as she's opened her bakery's second location, in Central Phoenix. Known for making delicate French-style pastries and light breakfast and lunch fare, Essence Bakery has been a Francophile's dream come true since opening back in 2007. We caught up with Theodosopoulos to find out more about the new location, the building and the history -- and to get the scoop on the gigantic stand mixer that graces the entryway. Be sure to come back tomorrow for the second part of our interview, when we learn more about what she has planned for Essence Bakery's future.
For years you've been able to head to Tempe's Essence Bakery to taste a little piece of Paris.
And not just some amateur's version of French pastry -- a 100 percent authentic French croissant, baked fresh every morning just the way chef Eugenia Theodosopoulos learned from her mentor, master baker Jean-Louis Clément.
In addition to being known for those near-perfect pillows of dough, Essence has earned a reputation as a favorite spot for a light, healthy breakfast, brunch, or lunch. Serving dishes like individually sized quiche Lorraine along with Greek spanakopita and a delicious lemon basil and chicken salad, the ever-busy café has flourished.
Lauren Saria Inside Essence's pastry case.
So years ago, when Essence fans found out Theodosopoulos and her husband and partner, Gilles Combes, were looking at a second location in Central Phoenix, to say people were excited is putting it mildly. Back then the neighborhood around 40th Street and Indian School was just beginning to become a hot spot of the local food scene, but these days, it's easily one of the fastest-developing areas (at least, food-wise) in the Valley.
Alas, the wait would be a long one. The restaurant opened a few weeks ago and has been packed since the start.
"We already have regulars," Theodosopoulos says with a smile as she finishes greeting a pair of them.
Of course, some have followed her (and her food) from the Tempe location, but it's an impressive feat nonetheless.