The aroma of fresh bread, rolls, and coffee greets customers as they enter the Cottage Bakery at the busy corner of Dowker Avenue and Pembina Highway, where self-taught bakers Ronak and Peyman Estefani have been making delicacies since 2005.
The 80-year-old recipes they use were handed down by the original owners of the Cottage Bakery, which was established in 1932 at 1382 Pembina Hwy.
"We try to keep all the recipes the same. We don’t use additives in our baking and everything is from scratch," Ronak says. "We are happy about this location. We have very, very good customers."
The good relationships are evident as Ronak greets customers when they walk in the door and wishes them a good day as they leave.
Located right next to Vincent Massey Collegiate, Cottage Bakery also regularly attracts a ready-made new generation of clients.
"We’ve never had a problem with the kids. Very good kids. They are shopping here all the time," Ronak says.
When the Estefanis moved into the new location it was just a bakery but, to meet the needs of the area, they soon opened a café which serves lattes, cappuccinos, cold drinks, ice cream and sandwiches.
The coffee shop component of their business is growing every day and Estefanis are looking at adding breakfast items to their menu, such as eggs and hash browns. They even get phone orders from New York or Los Angeles — people ordering birthday cakes for parents who live in Winnipeg.
With a big smile Ronak says, "We love baking."
In their spare time the Estefanis research and study the art of baking.
Loving what you do means that the 100 joint hours per week and getting up at 2 a.m. aren’t really an inconvenience. It just comes with the territory.
At Christmastime, the Estefanis start at 10 o’clock in the evenings and bake all night long.
Cottage Bakery is only closed is for two weeks in January and two weeks in the summer. Otherwise the Estefanis are always there, six days a week.
Helen Lepp Friesen is a community correspondent for Fort Garry. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org