Naples is buzzing about the newly reopened La Colmar Bakery & Bistro, operated by the husband-and-wife team of Ana and Yannick Brendel. Originally from the bakery’s namesake city in Alsace, Yannick is a third-generation baker trained by his father at an early age. Using the finest French flour, a reverse-osmosis water filtration system, and sustainably sourced butter, he turns out a daily array of breads, pastries, croissants, and cookies. “A bakery keeps the community together,” says Yannick. “My grandfather always told me that people may not go to church, but they’ll always go to the bakery. Our goal is to bring quality food to our customers and to make people realize that food can be medicine as well as fuel for the body.”
If La Colmar is creating a delicious sense of déjà vu, it’s for good reason. The Brendels first opened the business in 2017, and it was an immediate sensation. The couple left less than one year later, however, after a dispute with their partner. They were briefly associated with Yana Eats (the current location of Hyde N Chic) before being approached by an investor and buying La Colmar back. Together, they are evangelists for healthy eating that indulges the senses.
“I want to change the way people view food,” Ana says. “My goal is to bring back traditional recipes and inspire customers to look at food the way our ancestors
did, not just as something to fill their stomachs with.”
That doesn’t mean your hedonistic urges will go unfulfilled at La Colmar. The most popular items are the Everything Croissantwich (an everything-seasoned croissant topped with egg, cheese, and hickory-smoked bacon), almond cream croissants, and strawberry beignets.
Besides using sustainably sourced butter and imported French flour, the Brendels decided to install their reverse-osmosis water filtration system after being told that a filter was necessary to prevent the water from damaging the coffee machine. “I realized that if it would damage the machine,” she says, “what would it do to a person? People are the most delicate machines on earth.”
The couple went through a difficult period after their initial separation from La Colmar. Employers were hesitant to hire them for fear they would leave to start their own business again; with three children and no money, they were soon visiting local food banks. “It was tough, but we were determined to find our way back. We want to show other people who are going through hard times that you have to keep on going and never give up.”