feel the love
Talented Houston chef opens first bakery serving exquisite, freshly baked croissants and pastries in Midtown
For chef Omar Pereney, what started as a hobby making pastries has become Love Croissants — a growing business that sells baked goods at the Urban Harvest farmers market and a growing group of local coffee shops. Now, the business is ready to take the next step by opening its first retail location this Wednesday, July 19.
Located in the bakery space at Weights + Measures in Midtown (2808 Caroline St.), the Love Croissants shop will operate Wednesday through Sunday from 7 am until 2 pm (or sold out). Initially, Pereney learned to make croissants by watching videos and consulting with friends as a form of stress relief, but now the business has grown to 11 employees.
While Pereney says he appreciates the time selling at markets to refine the concept, the ability to serve people freshly baked pastries that haven’t been exposed to heat and humidity outdoors is something he’s particularly excited about.
“With croissants in particular, of course the ingredients and technique have to be great, but what is really the secret is freshness. If you know the ingredients and the technique, it’s not rocket science,” Pereney tells CultureMap.
“It has to be fresh. It’s like a pizza. A croissant is not supposed to be eaten the next day or baked at 3 am and enjoying at 3 pm. That’s a f*cking day-old croissant.”
As for the decision to open at Weights + Measures, it came down to Pereney’s existing relationship with Xavier and Mari Godoy, the couple who purchased the restaurant from its former owners earlier this year. He respects the work that the couple, who also own Mastrantos in the Heights, have done to breathe new life into the Midtown brunch staple.
The setup will allow Love Croissants to bake fresh batches throughout the day, which means customers will also have a pastry that’s no more than a couple hours old. Just as it does at the markets, the bakery will display that day’s selection on a counter for people to say. When they sell out, diners either have to watch for the next batch or come back the next day. It may not be the traditional American approach to bakery operations, but Pereney thinks his customers will appreciate the model.
“For people who come from overseas or have lived in Europe or some countries in South America, we’re used to buying bread at a certain time of day,” he says. “We don’t see that as much here. A lot of people will tell you we’re shocked by buying bread in grocery stores. We don’t understand the whole bagged bread concept.”
The lineup may vary a bit from day to day, but diners can expect to find flavors such as traditional butter, pan au chocolat, ham and asiago, almond-cardamom, turkey and goat cheese, and the Crolache — jalapeño-cheddar beef sausage with cheddar. It will also stock sweet and savory tarts such as blueberry with key lime curd and a new tomato tart that Pereney says “needs to go live.”
Tenfold Coffee has supplied Pereney with two blends of drip coffee that Love Croissants will serve — one designed to pair with sweet croissants and another for savory. It will also serve freshly squeezed orange juice and hot chocolate.
Of course, Love Croissants will continue to sell at the markets and a select group of coffee shops that includes Tenfold, Fourth & Nomad, Refuge, Fifth Vessel, Un Caffè, and The Coffee House at West End. He’s also still working his day job as the owner of Culinary Matters, a consulting firm that works with restaurants.
“It’s a very exciting project. I can’t believe it took me so long to get off my ass and do something,” Pereney says with a laugh. Later, he adds, “I’m enjoying it. It’s more difficult than consulting and more cash intense, but I’m having fun at both.”