Brioche. Crepes. Quiche. Croissant doughnuts with blueberry and lemon.
That’s just a few of the wares on display in gleaming cases Friday morning when The Riverfront Bakery, a new French cafe, opened in Wilmington.
Within hours, there was a lot less on display.
“It was surprising how quick everything went this morning,” said pastry chef Lauren Malizia, a Delaware native who trained in Chicago.
The bakery, owned by Margo Gorschkova of Wilmington and her husband Jeff Schwarz, stands at 313 S. Justison Street, across the street from Constitution Yards.
The sleek, airy design of the bakery features white walls, tall ceilings and white quartz countertops with faint gray marbling. Light wood tables shine under Edison lighting, and leather banquettes will soon be installed along one wall. Friday morning, cake domes covered samples of the eatery’s baked goods.
Owning a bakery wasn’t always a dream for Gorschkova. She grew up in Ukraine and moved to Delaware about eight years ago to marry Schwarz. They have a son, Roman. Her expertise was in literature and language, and she worked for the government before she moved.
But she likes to bake, and breakfast is her favorite meal of the day.
“I’m not that fond of cooking as much as the smell of fresh baked goods and croissants, and that’s like the best for me,” she said Friday morning at her bakery.
Gorschkova said her ideas for her bakery were inspired by visiting many European ones.
She and Schwartz are leasing the space from The Buccini/Pollin Group. They started renovations last year.
Now they’ve become one of the few Delaware restaurants to open in the wake of Gov. John Carney’s emergency order that asked people to stay home and closed restaurants for dine-in service. The restaurants have been allowed to reopen to 60 percent of their capacity, with restrictions.
“It took a while for everything to be completed the way we wanted, but I’m pretty grateful for how everything turned out,” Gorschkova said. “I think the timing is good.”
The bakery plans to be open Tuesday through Friday from 7 am to 3 pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 8 am. to 5 pm. But these hours could shift slightly depending on foot traffic and whether people return to work in the area over the next few weeks.
Malizia was hired on after moving back to Delaware last year from Chicago. She studied there at the French Pastry School, founded by Sébastien Canonne and Jacquy Pfeiffer, a James Beard Award-winning author.
She attended St. Elizabeth and Padua schools before going to the University of Delaware and worked in Philadelphia for six years before deciding to switch careers and become a pastry chef.
Incredibly, Malizia lives next door to Gorschkova and Schwartz, who have known for the last year or so that Malizia baked and sold cakes out of her home. Not until Gorschkova and Schwartz discussed their plans for opening a bakery did they learn that Malizia was a professionally trained pastry chef. Naturally, the owners asked her to take on a big role at their new cafe.
Her baked goods on Friday included a savory brioche with cheese and pepper, sugar brioche ($3), chocolate brioches ($3.25), croissants ($3), chocolate croissants, cinnamon sugar croissant muffins ($2.50); and croissant doughnuts ($4.75), also known as cronuts, with blueberry whopped cream filling and lemon sugar on the outside.
The quiches, all made in individual sizes, included chicken and spinach ($9.30); a quiche Lorraine with ham and salted onions ($9); smoked salmon and asparagus ($9.60); and spinach, sun-dried tomato and cheese. The quiches can be ordered with salad and coffee ($12.95).
Cold and hot drinks also are available, but sodas are not listed among the choices.
Malizia was rolling out another batch of croissants by mid-morning.
By afternoon, the kitchen was turning out Naopoleans ($5.50) and apple turnovers ($3.75), and customers were waiting in line for them.
“It’s exciting to run my own kitchen,” she said. “And it was nice to do a soft opening today. Tomorrow, we’ll have a fully stocked case on display.”