Baltimore, MD - December 10, 2019 - When I heard that a new, STAR-K-certified French bakery/café will soon be opening in Pikesville, my mind wandered back to the fun trip to Paris I took decades ago. Scenes of strolling along the Champs-Élysées; riding up to the top of the Eiffel Tower; marveling at the Mona Lisa in the Louvre (at what all the hype was about!); cruising down the Seine River: and, dining in a quaint restaurant in the Jewish quarter (more fondly known as The Pletzl) flashed through my mind.

Wow! I would finally be able to relive that fond summer experience vicariously – at Croustille Café – with no luggage to pack or nine-hour flight. All I would have to do was drive to the Pikesville Shopping Center on Reisterstown Road, between McHenry Avenue and Church Lane, a mere three miles away.

I had the pleasure of speaking to Moshe Mimoun, one of the owners of Croustille Café. I learned that he is a native of Paris who moved to Baltimore with his family, last year. The Mimouns send their children to T.A. and Bais Yaakov and Moshe splits his time davening in Mercaz Torah U’Tefilla (Rav Yissocher Dov Eichenstein’s shul) and Chabad Center and Lubavitch of Maryland (Rabbi Shmuel Kaplan’s shul).

“I really appreciate Rav Eichenstein and Rabbi Kaplan – I learn with Rabbi Kaplan before seudas shlishi every Shabbos and I really appreciate Rav Eichenstein’s shiurim,” mentions Moshe. “I am also close to Rabbi Goldfeiz and Rabbi Holland, of the STAR-K.”

The 3,800-square-foot authentic, onsite French bakery and café, which is planning to move into a portion of the former space held by Rite Aid near Staples, will be a cross between a restaurant and a café, says Moshe. “It is designed in the French bakery spirit with various types of seating areas that we hope will draw an eclectic group of customers of all ages. Our lounge area with booths and high-top tables will encourage customers to gather, socialize, and conduct business. We plan on opening up motzei Shabbos during the winter months.”

Moshe’s two brothers-in-law, Benjamin Devico, a native of Marseille, France, and Benjamin Kott, a native of Roanne, France, are Moshe’s partners. The former will be co-managing Croustille Café with Moshe, while the later will be its baker and chef.

“For two generations, my family has been in the bakery and supermarket business in France,” shares Moshe. “Benjamin Kott has more than 10 years’ experience in bakeries and pastries. He was inspired to bake since he was young because his family’s proximity with the “La Maison Trois Grois” in Roanne. Together, our goal is to have happy customers. We feel people will really enjoy it.”

My six years of French, taken in high school and college, did not prepare me to understand the French pastries that Moshe rattled off in his native tongue, such as: Viennoiseries; mille feuille; pain au chocolat; palmiers; chaussons aux pommes; opera cake; éclair au chocolat; mini pies; gaufres; and custom-topped crepes. Eventually, I found out that some of them translated into: Belgian waffles (with custom toppings), napoleons, chocolate eclairs, Danishes, fruit-filled brioche, turnovers, strudel, biscotti, tarts, French-style cookies, madeleines, and other French pastries.

Croustille Café’s other bakery specialties, baked daily on the premises, will include freshly baked breads, bagels, baguettes, French breads, and croissants. The café section will serve dairy and pareve breakfast and lunch menu options, such as bagels with toppings, overstuffed sandwiches, custom-made-salads and store-made ice cream.

“Of course, we have French food, but we know we need to give American food to American people, also,” Moshe concludes with a chuckle.

Baltimore Jewish Life wishes much hatzlacha and bracha to Croustille Café! And, if I may show off my French -- bonne chance!!