ELMWOOD PARK, N.J. -- A pair of Parisian natives came to the U.S. last year -- and they brought their pastries with them.
Pierre Chahime and Michel Khoury opened Pierre & Michel last June, on Elmwood Park's Broadway, and locals have enthusiastically embraced them.
Chahime had a simple explanation for their move: "We like adventure and the American dream."
Their authentic French bakery has been met with a great response, he said. "We're doing very well, more clients every week," and they've gotten a boost from social media, with customers posting and sharing on Facebook.
The shop's Instagram feed is also full of their beautiful, detailed creations, and it's garnered nearly 60,000 followers.
The bakery has only been open since June, and it's getting nearly-universally glowing reviews: five out of five stars on Yelp, 4.9 stars on its Facebook page and 4.7 on Google. It doesn't yet have a presence on TripAdvisor.
Chahime said the word-of-mouth process has been amazing, and advertising simply hasn't been necessary.
He had a head start with the business, since his own father was a pastry chef. The duo behind the Elmwood Park have more behind their skills than that, however, including working at four-star restuarants and training from Parisian chefs, including MOFs.
That is, winners of the annual Un des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France contest, or "MOF" for short. Literally, that's "One of the Best Craftsmen of France," a hardcore competition in categories ranging from pastrymaking and photography to clockmaking and carpentry.
And the artistry they learned in France is obvious in the creations that fill the bakery cases on Broadway.
Chahime said that the shop's colorful macarons are a customer favorite, as well as the Metisse cake -- a chocolate sponge cake with a dark chocolate mouse, crème brulee and crunchy hazelnut.
The menu includes a dozen flavors of macarons; tarts and cakes; breads, rolls and croissants; individual-sized quiches; and special orders, including wedding cakes.
Chahime and Khoury chose New Jersey because they have family here.
"Our idea was to come here and open a bakery or pastry shop," Chachime said. And all the products are authentically French -- "we haven't changed anything."
And you won't see cupcakes in the bakery cases, nor cheesecakes: "We do only French pastry."
He also stressed the importance of the ingredients. When the pair immigrated, they brought some ingredients with them, including butter and chocolate, and they've kept buying certain ingredients regionally, that are imported from France.
"It's very important."The shop, located at 95 Broadway, is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Thursday; from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. For more info, visit the website, Facebook or Instagram.