La Fête Pâtisserie Française Now Open on Mercer Island

July 31, 2020 | by Naomi Tomky

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The crowds flocking to the latest addition to Mercer Island’s food scene, a contemporary French bakery, took owner Kristen Sisco by surprise – and perhaps customers too were surprised and soon delighted by the delicious and beautiful array behind her glass display cases.

Yet the twine-tied sandwiches with pâté de Campagne and laminated dough pastries currently on offer only form the beginning of Sisco’s plans for the place.

“The response has been so lovely,” the pastry chef says of her opening on July 17, “but it’s only about 25% of the concept.”

Sisco left her job as an architect six years ago to go to pastry school, train in France, and work with world-class chocolatier Melissa Coppel in Las Vegas. She planned to serve French-style composed desserts rarely seen in the U.S., elegant tarts, and rich mousse cakes. But as she was finishing up more than a year building out the former pho shop space into a custom patisserie – all designed herself – the pandemic hit. She put off opening and made last-minute tweaks to her business plan to fit the current situation.

Right now, the offerings lean savory, like the breakfast brioche – a fluffy bun with smoked bacon swirled around an egg – and mostly classic: croissants, pain au chocolat, and baguettes delicately layered with butter, ham, cornichons, and Emmenthaler cheese.

While many of the eye-catching, unique desserts on which Sisco planned to base her shop on are on hold – even the packaging for them is held up in customs somewhere between France and here – the décor telegraphs Sisco’s aesthetic style for now. A lush dark cyan wall with only the simple, circular La Fête logo on it serves as the backdrop to the glass countertop pastry cases. A thin gold-framed mirror lists the available drinks – Olympia’s Batdorf and Bronson coffee pulled on a La Marzocco – including café noisette and flat whites, along with cold brew and iced tea in flavors such as Scandinavian detox (birch-sea buckthorn and cranberry-bilberry).

Shelves along the side hold bars of Valrhona chocolate and tea from Palais des Thés for sale, and a shallow counter awaits the day when customers can safely dine inside. Thankfully, until that happens, the shop’s outdoor marble tables with French bistro chairs await.

“I saw the potential,” says Sisco of the space she originally found almost two years ago. “Especially the patio.” Sisco, who was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest but had been looking at spaces in Bellevue prior, stumbled on it while visiting her daughter, who lived on Mercer Island at the time. But she’d spent enough time on the island to know that the location fit in with her plans for the bakery as a “a community-centered spot.”

And so far the community has certainly showed up – Sisco had to revise her opening hours to bring more staff on board and allow herself the time to prepare enough pastries to stay stocked throughout each day.

La Fête Pâtisserie Française, 7605 SE 27th Street, Suite 112, is open Wednesday through Sunday (and Tuesdays starting August 18th) at 7am. Find it online at www.lafetepatisserie.com.

Interior photos courtesy Suzanne Zahr, Inc. | SZ Build, who was the architect for La Fête’s remodel of the space prior to opening.

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