A new American Canyon bakery has been the talk of the town since its Dec. 12 opening.
Le Paris Artisan & Gourmet Cafe is satisfying local sweet tooths, which have long yearned for their own embodiment of Napa Valley’s Bouchon or Model bakeries.
The small, intimate, cafe-style bakery serves French pastries, croissants and sandwiches with Asian fusion.
Coffee creations hail from local Vallejo roastery Moschetti, and American Canyon resident, owner and pastry chef Jay Magsano also takes custom cake orders for any occasion. It’s open every day except for Monday.
The Asian influence stems from Magsano’s Filipino roots. Customers will find traditional french delights, like croissants, macaroons, and danishes, but also lesser-known Filipino staples, like savory ensaymadas, with a unique, English twist. Many of the treats are made with ube, a purple yam that’s common in Filipino desserts.
The community’s enthusiasm for the new bakery is most evident on Yelp, where Le Paris has accumulated 50 reviews and a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars in the three months since opening. The reviews rave about not just the goods, but also the friendly customer service.
“When you see the reviews on Yelp, it’s amazing. They really like the products; they’re surprised about the place, it’s like a hidden treasure,” Magsano said.
Tucked away in a little strip off of Highway 29, next to Tacos Michoacan, Le Paris has already recruited its share of regulars.
Magsano said customers seem to most appreciate getting to interact with him, the chef, which is an experience they don’t normally get at larger establishments.
The bakery’s most popular treat is the Cropuff — Magsano’s original invention that fuses together the croissant and the cream puff. The inspiration came partly from New York City’s Cronut, a croissant crossed with a doughnut.
“I was thinking of how I could create a signature item. I was searching Cronuts in New York and I didn’t want to copy them, but I wanted to create something familiar. I decided to make the cream puff better. I like the cream, but the cream puff itself is sometimes soggy,” said Magsano, who believes the croissant solves that problem.
Macarons are another best-seller, coming in a variety of changing flavors. Customer favorites include ube, pistachio and the new cookie dough chips.
Born and raised in Manila, cooking has always been a part of Magsano’s life.
Around age 20, he came to the U.S. and has spent the past 20 years traveling back and forth between here and Japan, refining his craft, pursuing additional education and gaining valuable experience. He apprenticed with many French chefs in Japan and studied at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school.
Magsano even owned three restaurants in Japan, but Le Paris is his first bakery, and first U.S. business.
The bakery has proved to be much more work than his previous restaurant endeavors. As the sole pastry chef, he’s up at 12:30 a.m. every morning to start baking, and continues to bake throughout the day, while also managing his staff and interacting with customers.
And every day brings a different lineup. Magsano is constantly tweaking his creations and playing with new renditions on his basic recipes. If something isn’t well received, it immediately comes off the menu.
“I only make things I want to eat; I don’t make anything I don’t want to eat. I trust my taste buds. Your taste buds should be unique; they should be precise,” he said.
Freshness is also of the highest priority. Le Paris never shelves pastries that weren’t made that very day. Once an item sells out, that’s it until tomorrow.
Looking to the future, Magsano hopes to expand Le Paris into a larger space, where it can evolve into more of a restaurant and he can serve everything from appetizers to dessert.
“I really want to have a restaurant. I can serve it all,” he said.