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French bakery-cafe on Hertel Avenue sets opening

Life for Hertel Avenue eaters is going to get more complicated on June 21, when Pastry by Camille starts presenting its French sweets, bread and comfort food.

Should they choose the buckwheat crepes with ham, egg and Gruyere cheese, French style, or the version filled with sausage from Cheektowaga? Will the chocolate-topped éclair suffice for dessert, or must they obtain an éclair Paris-Brest as well, to see how its crumble topping and praline cream compares?

Two weeks from opening at 1416 Hertel Ave., Camille Le Caer and his crew are preparing to unleash a dizzying diversity of classic French pastry and bread on Buffalo.

Croissants, baguettes and brioche will be offered, as well as the two eclairs. Macarons, and a seasonal tart built on a buttery Brittany biscuit – strawberry rhubarb to start – are on the way.

Yogurt-granola parfait with citrus, croque madames and monsieurs, ham sandwiches with Gruyere sauce, lead off the lunch menu. Other crepes include a Buffalo chicken version that, Le Caer is careful to note, uses the whole chicken, not just breast. A weekly salad, and sandwiches on crackling housemade baguettes – including a beef on weck baguette – will be standards as well.

If things go well, Le Caer said, more pastries like kouign amann and dishes like quiche Lorraine will be coming as the operation matures.

He plans to have the place open by 11 a.m. June 21, in time for the France-Peru World Cup soccer match. A projector will be showing all the France games in his store, he said.

Le Caer emphasized that although his name is on the shop, co-workers Jamie Lee Dunne, sous chef, and Cara Harzell, baker, will be just as important to the operation's efforts. "This isn't just me," he said. "We are like a team, a band."

French pastry chef gets Planning Board OK for Hertel Avenue bakery

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