Before the sun is up, the croissant dough is rising at a Hertel Avenue business.
"The pastry started in Brittany, France,” said Camille La Caer, chef and owner of Pastry by Camille. “My grandma taught me how to cook rabbit and game meat. From there I got a passion and a love for the kitchen."
- Camille La Caer, a native of France, is sharing his passion for pastries on Hertel Avenue and in the Market Arcade
- Hertel Avenue Business Association said between two and three new businesses open up each month in the neighborhood
- La Caer hopes to expand and share his French cooking skills to a warehouse to offer classes
Fast forward through years of culinary school and work in France and then New York City to find Le Caer bringing his talent to Buffalo.
"I worked in Moscow and Paris for Cafe Pouchkine making macaroons,” he said. “I made 15,000 in a day.”
La Caer opened his shop at the corner of North Park and Hertel about a year ago. Since then, grateful patrons have gobbled up his tarts, macaroon, tiramisu, croissants, and the other dozens of delicious delicacies on the menu.
La Caer said Buffalo is a foodie town, but he wants to expand his customer’s palates beyond chicken wings and beef on weck.
"There's no bad or good, there's a lot of difference, and difference is beauty," La Caer said.
His customers have craved every bite of that contrast.
But Pastry by Camille is just one of the success stories on Hertel Avenue. The Hertel Avenue Business Association said two to three new businesses are opening each month.
Soda Kuczkowski, the business association’s vice president, said there’s a good reason for the upswing.
"I think it's just the community,” she said. “This has always been a really walk-able neighborhood. But, I think just in terms, people are realizing what all Buffalo has to offer and are filling in all the pockets."
Kuczkowski adds it's just not Hertel booming, as Buffalo has a lot to offer entrepreneurs.
"In terms of education, there is a lot available for entrepreneurship, you know SCORE, Small Business Association, Mayor Byron Brown, the Northland Workplace," Kuczkowski said.
There are some advantages on Hertel Avenue that other neighborhoods don’t have, however.
"It's a community effort," Kuczkowski said.
That same community has given La Caer, a 25-year-old husband and father of two, the chance to expand downtown to the Market Arcade.
"We are very proud of it,” La Caer said. “We are looking forward to bringing something more intricate to Buffalo."