Celebrate the sweetest parts of France at La Gourmandine | Lifespace
La Gourmandine French bakery Pittsburgh

Celebrate the sweetest parts of France at La Gourmandine

March 11, 2016

It opened its doors in Pittsburgh in 2010; still, there’s always something new to discover at La Gourmandine. Found originally on Central Lawrenceville’s Butler Street, the authentic French bakery pays homage to owner Fabien Moreau’s homeland with made-from-scratch croissants, pastries, and breads, all methodically crafted with the country’s traditional baking techniques and equipment.

Perhaps unexpectedly, the experience of visiting the shop is a cultural exploration all its own: Over the counter, colorful delicacies are exchanged as often as French dialogue. The space is rather small, but don’t let that discourage you from spending an afternoon here. (It is, after all, the European way.)

La Gourmandine’s approachability stems from its humble beginnings. Years of dreaming up his own business — and a run at Paris’ prestigious Lenôtre culinary school — paid off when Moreau moved to Pittsburgh with his wife, Lisanne, a French native with Steel City ties. When La Gourmandine came to fruition shortly thereafter, neither Pittsburgh nor the Moreaus were prepared for the bakery’s imminent success. (As a former Lawrenceville resident, I can attest to the crowd of patrons that lines the storefront every Saturday morning. I can also assure you that the wait is worth it.)

Countless 12-hour work days and four years later, the husband-wife team expanded their business; this time, to Mount Lebanon. The well-received opening of their second location in 2014 generated citywide buzz, an expanded fan base, and a featured spot in The New York Times’ viral travel video, “36 Hours in Pittsburgh.”

There’s surely more artisan magic to come from the Moreaus in the years ahead. Until then, we’re joining La Gourmandine on its ride to fame, one perfectly flaky croissant at a time.

Photography: Tara Bennett