L’appât Patisserie & Café Opens in Olde Towne East
The third time is the charm for Didier Alapini, the founder of L’appât Patisserie & Café. This bio-chemist turned pastry entrepreneur struggled to renovate two dilapidated buildings before setting his sights on Olde Towne East.
“In 2003 I tried to open my first store on Refugee Road, but the building structure was poor,” explained Alapini. “Water would pour through the ceiling every time it rained, and we had to walk away from it. We had similar problems with another building located Downtown.”
As of Monday, L’appât has successfully opened for business at 1159 Oak Street. Alapini’s focus on food comes from a long background in cooking combined with a modern education.
“At a very young age I learned how to cook with my mom,” he said. “She had a catering business, so by the age of 13 I learned to cook for over 100 people by myself.”
Alapini skipped culinary school and instead chose to obtain a Masters Degree in Biochemistry in Ivory Coast. He moved to New York to pursue a PhD in the same field, but his plans changed one day while watching tv.
“In 1999, I was watching a show on The Food Network about a biochemist in California applying his knowledge to making barbeque sauces in his kitchen,” he said. “This amazed me. It was something I never thought about.”
After that moment he decided to reacquaint himself with cooking and started to prepare meals for friends on a regular basis. Didier handled the cooking while his wife Minervia did the baking. After moving from New York to Columbus, he recognized a need for a cafe that combined flavors from African countries with local ingredients and a modern touch.
“Our pastries are partly European, but with an international view,” said Alapini. “We try to mix different flavors from different backgrounds to fit the diversity of Columbus.”
Some of the pastries on sale this past week include White African Sweet Potato Tarts, French Almond Raspberry Tarts, Chausson aux Pommes and Carrot Creme Tarts.
Beyond the pastries and desserts, L’appât also offers soups, salads and sandwiches for something more savory.
“Our menu will change every six weeks,” said Alapini. “A specialty one week might be an African barbeque chicken entree, followed by Maltese Island Moussaka, followed by a Lebanese Fattoush Salad.”
“Oak Street is developing,” he said. “I believe that Oak is coming along, and everyone who has stopped in so far is excited about the new concept, and having something completely different.”
L’appât Patisserie & Café is located at 1159 Oak Street and is open Monday-Friday from 7am to 7:30pm, Saturday from 8am to 5pm, and closed on Sunday.