Intricate notes emanating from a nearby piano. Steam rising off a teacup as it sits on a delicate saucer. Signs of old-world elegance permeate every corner of Mozart's Bakery and Piano Cafe, and owners Anand and Doris Saha wouldn't have it any other way. The European-trained couple have been slinging their famed sugary delicacies in the Columbus area for more than 20 years, after honing their skills in some of Europe's best restaurants and hotels.
However, even their most frequent diners will be astounded by their new, expanded location in a formerly abandoned Beechwold restaurant. While guests still get to enjoy European delicacies?some of which helped earned Columbus Monthly's Best Dessert in Best of Columbus 2014?they can now do so on a patio or in one of many rooms stocked with the aforementioned pianos. Once settled in, guests take in afternoon tea complete with scones, a canape plate, and a pastry plate.
But as proud as the Sahas are of their elegant, continental cuisine, they take just as much pride in helping the community. They were recently honored with the first Columbus Small Business Community Heroes Award from Direct Energy for their fund-raising contributions. The funds have gone toward aiding many different parts of the community, a few of which are a local food pantry, programs for senior citizens, and after-school activities for children.
Divine De-lites owner Kim Herring didn’t set out to become full-time baker. “I was really more of a cook,” she says, “but then whenever we had family functions I always baked stuff.” But not just any "stuff"––breads and cookies that had family and friends raving. For nearly 10 years, others tried to convince her to turn her part-time passion into a career, and when the economic downturn led her to leave her job in the corporate arena, she decided to do exactly that.
To craft her treats, Herring employs family recipes––including one for a much-lauded banana bread––and formulations she developed herself using organic and local products whenever possible. Cookies are her No. 1 specialty, which she whips up in flavors such as oatmeal apricot, peanut butter, and almond butter with fig, and can be made gluten-free, sugar-free, or disguised as salads to suit a range of dietary concerns. But it’s her chocolate-chip cookies that are the real crowd pleaser. “They’re kinda crispy on the outside, but when you break ‘em open they’re real soft on the inside. And [there are] lots of chocolate chips.”
For more than three decades, The French Loaf has served up fresh baked goods made with locally sourced ingredients. The crew of foodies works with local farms to harvest the fresh veggies that go into their house-made soups and quiches. Closer to home, they whip up fresh batches of cracked wheat bread and croissants to use as part of their simple, savory bistro sandwiches. And like any self-respecting French patisserie, pastry chefs craft mouthwatering pies, creme br?l?e, and petit fours. To maintain their local ties, the bakery donates all its left-over baked goods to local shelters and community organizations at the end of the day.
Switching from pharmacist to gourmet cupcake baker isn't an obvious career path, but for Sonya Kissi it was a logical one. Inspired by cooking shows on TV, she began baking pastries and sweets at home and discovered she had a knack for it. Soon she founded KissiCakes-n-Sweets, where she and her team bake fresh cupcakes, cookies, brownies, and cheesecakes from scratch each day. Her cupcakes remain the main focus, in flavors such as key lime and raspberry lemonade.
Bakery Gingham owner Amanda Ellis’s life-long love of baking is evident in the tiny cake creations she switches up seasonally and offers in a bevy of flavors. Her cupcakes come in buttercream-iced varieties such as Dreamsicle (orange cake with vanilla icing), Snowball (coconut cake with coconut icing), What’s Up Doc (carrot cake with cream-cheese icing), and Elvis (banana cake with peanut-butter icing). Cookie Monster's blend of buttery yellow cake with homemade chocolate-chip cookie dough and vanilla buttercream icing might give you googly eyes and blue fur, while Grandpa's Coffee splashes a little Kahlua into the icing of an espresso cake. You can also show your Ohio pride with a Buckeye Nation (chocolate cake topped with peanut-butter icing with a homemade buckeye baked into the center). And if your operating policy in life is to order foods based on their names alone, try the Grim Raspberry, LL Cool Cake, or Mutant Turtle.
Need a last-minute birthday cake? Stop by Mozart's Pastries and Cakes for all of your bakery needs. The menu also includes a number of vegan items. Take your pick of beer, wine, or other beverages offered on Mozart's Pastries and Cakes' menu. Wifi access is totally free at Mozart's Pastries and Cakes, perfect for catching up on the news, hopping on social media, or even working. Dine out in the open during Mozart's Pastries and Cakes' summer season when patio tables are available for use. Big family? Tons of friends? Bring 'em all to Mozart's Pastries and Cakes — the bakery has an awesome layout for large parties and groups.
Getting your food to go is also an option. For the tastes of Mozart's Pastries and Cakes from the comfort of your next party, the bakery also offers catering services.
The bakery is next to a parking lot, but drivers can also settle for street parking.
Meals at Mozart's Pastries and Cakes are moderately priced — most diners spend about $30 per person.