Devotees of Bexley, Ohio's Cherbourg Bakery no longer have to make the drive to Columbus to get their gluten-free fix — owner Geri Peacock has expanded into Over-the-Rhine, opening Cherbourg Cyprus Bakery in Findlay Market this week.
"We had a ton of people from Cincy driving up to Columbus every weekend to get something," says Leslie, a baker and employee at the OTR Cherbourg. "So a handful of regulars talked us into (opening a Cherbourg) down here. We couldn't pass it up. We were sick of our customers having to make that drive, so we thought we could bring it a little closer."
Well known for its selection of gluten-free, nut-free goodies, the OTR shop features not only pastries — donuts, Cherbourg's famous double lemon bars, muffins, cookies and cake — but also eggy deliciousness, like inventive stratas, quiches and individual skillet servings of shakshuka.
"We're traditionally a French bakery, but here we're doing more of a Mediterranean twist," Leslie says.
That twist is the reason for the addition of the word "Cyprus" to this location's moniker.
Named after Cherbourg, France — which Peacock's grandfather helped liberate during World War II — the space plays on modern Francophile sensibilities. Lilting accordion versions of classic cafe music play through speakers as guests order at a white-and-wood counter. Contemporary-meets-bistro booths and tables are surrounded by white subway tiles and accents of Tiffany blue paint. The only coffee is Deeper Roots pour-over, a process which invites guests to take a moment out of their busy day to sit and savor.
Using a unique combination of rice and tapioca flour as a flour replacement (which they also sell) and Ohio's Hartzler Dairy, the small-batch baked goods are free of gums, fillers and dyes. The composition and flavor profile are equal to any excellent artisan bakery, and the lack of gluten is imperceptible — a real treat for anyone who is gluten-free by biology or choice and is accustomed to sweets that are just a sub-par facsimile of the real thing. While menu items are not vegan — "We use lots of butter and eggs," Leslie says — all items are safe for nut allergies, including tree nuts.
"Geri found that a lot of people who have a gluten intolerance or celiac are also allergic to nuts," Leslie says. "This kid (with a severe nut allergy) came in last weekend and he was so nervous because he didn't know what he could eat here and his mom said, 'Everything.' His eyes lit up and he had his first donut. I watched him sit and eat his first donut. I was thinking, 'This is kind of life-changing right now.' "
Cherbourg Cyprus is located at 1804 Race St., Over-the-Rhine. Find hours and more info at cherbourgcyprus.com.