Berkeley La PanotiQ Bakery Cafe celebrates grand opening Friday

Mitzi Perez/Staff

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La PanotiQ Bakery Cafe, known for its French pastries and array of desserts, celebrated its grand opening in Berkeley on Friday.

Customers were greeted with the wafting smells of fresh roasted coffee and French baked goods as they entered the cafe, with the soft tinkling of jazz music playing in the background.

La PanotiQ, a family-owned bakery cafe chain with multiple locations throughout California, offers a variety of foods, including cakes, pastries, salads and sandwiches. In addition, the bakery cafe provides a separate children’s menu.

La PanotiQ combines French culinary tradition with modern European style, according to the cafe’s website. The baked goods are made with ingredients such as flour and butter that are imported from Europe and free of GMOs, pesticides and hormones.

“We use (French) butter, flour, cocoa … so you get the authentic taste of France without actually having to be there,” said Angela Feher, a cafe spokesperson.

According to Diane Schwartz, marketing director for La PanotiQ, the bakery cafe chain opened up a branch in Berkeley because it felt the people in the city were passionate about food and knew how to appreciate culinary authenticity, adding that La PanotiQ is happy to now be a part of the Berkeley community.

Customers will find baked goods at La PanotiQ not found in many other bakeries in the United States, such as breads that give off a sour taste with the use of seeds instead of sourdough, according to Schwartz.

“It is exciting for us to share something that is different from American bread … whether it is authentic French or Korean, people know the difference,” Schwartz said.

According to Feher, the bakery cafe uses roasted coffee from Bicycle Coffee Co., which grows its ingredients on sustainable farms and delivers its coffee by bicycles throughout the Bay Area.

“Not only do we have authentic products, but we also are passionate about running the business through sustainable means,” Feher said.

Among the crowd of customers at Friday’s opening included a familiar face — late night talk show host Conan O’Brien, who picked up a coffee at the bakery while in town for the Clinton Global Initiative University conference in Berkeley. Other customers noted their excitement about the idea of a French bakery cafe opening up in the Berkeley area.

“I really like this place because of the jazz music, the boutique items, the high-quality goods and its proximity to the 51B stop,” said Josephine Kao, campus student and a customer at La PanotiQ on Friday morning.

Other customers noted the bakery cafe’s intimate space and interior design as other positive aspects of the bakery cafe.

“I’ll be coming back to this place often. (The) standing space is nice because at other places, I have to look for a specific place to put my belongings,said Clarissa Yeung, another La PanotiQ customer.

La PanotiQ, which is a play on a French portmanteau, is translated to mean “a library of panoramas,” according to its website. La PanotiQ is currently looking for new workers to hire.

Contact Sooyoung Hu at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @SHu_DCal.