8/11/20 9:27 a.m. Update: This article has been updated to include the address of the café.
Pass the rugelach, s’il vous plaît? The long-awaited Croustille Café, held the grand opening of its Pikesville location at 1404A Reisterstown Road on Aug. 5, offering kosher French pastries to any and all.
The cafe’s planned opening, which the JT first reported on in November 2019, was understandably hampered by the arrival of the novel coronavirus and its effects on the restaurant industry.
“It was very stressful,” said Moshe Mimoun, co-owner of the cafe. “It was not easy to find employees and to be ready.”
To promote employee and customer health, hand sanitizer was made readily available in the cafe, employees are required to wear gloves, and everyone must wear a mask.
In addition to the now-ubiquitous carryout option, dine-in service is also available, with the cafe able to serve up to 50% of its normal capacity, Mimoun said.
Mimoun got his start in food services in his family’s two cafes/bakery’s: Manicoti in Marseille and Les Delices de Maxime in Paris. He decided to leave France over concerns of rising anti-Semitism and began looking for quiet towns that could provide his children with a quality education. In Pikesville, he said, he found everything he was looking for, adding that his children attend Bais Yaakov and Talmudical Academy.
Since moving to the area, he has begun davening at Mercaz Torah U’Tefilla in Baltimore, Mimoun said. He added that he and his family “really, really appreciate this community, because it’s an amazing community.”
The cafe’s menu, certified as kosher by STAR-K Kosher Certification, includes French pastries, danishes, coffee, cheesecake, crepes, salads, sandwiches and homemade ice cream, Mimoun said. He added that the baguette and the chocolate croissant were proving particularly popular with customers, while Larry Lichtenauer, a spokesman for the property’s landlord, Hill Management Services, stressed that everything is prepared fresh each day in-house.
The cafe will be open Mondays through Thursdays from 7 a.m.-5 p.m., on Fridays from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. and Sundays from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Lichtenauer said. Naturally, of course, the kosher cafe will be closed on Saturdays and on all Jewish holidays, Mimoun added.
The cafe takes up approximately 3,800 feet, Lichtenauer said, adding that the atmosphere of the location is “very open and lively, and once COVID passes it’s gonna be a place where you’ll be able to linger and meet people. … It’s going to be a social gathering spot for the community.”
By Mimoun’s account, the cafe’s opening day was very successful. He stated that his cafe was offering something truly unique to the community. In fact, he is even considering opening a second location in the future, though for now he wants to focus on getting his current store on a solid foundation.
Mimoun thanked Hill Management Services for their support of his business and expressed his hopes regarding the future of local small businesses. “In this day and age, people are looking to help their neighbors and their community,” he said. “And just looking out at this Pikesville shopping center, and it’s got a lot of boutiques in the corridor. And I think that’s what people are trying to really help out.”