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Baked Goods

Celena's Bakery

Posted by Staff / Posted on January 3, 2011

Celena's Bakery TorontoCelena's Bakery is renowned for its croissants, and after taking my first bite, I can confirm that the real thing lives up to the lore.

Crispy and buttery with a sweet chocolate centre, Celena's chocolate croissants ($2.25) are a neighborhood favourite. About a block west of Woodbine on Danforth Ave., the decadent treat and its simpler sister puff pastry, Celena's plain croissant ($1.50), tend to sell out fast. They've got some substance to them, so don't be fooled by the size, and are always baked fresh in Celena's open kitchen.

Celena's BakeryIn fact everything at Celena's, right down to the preserves used in their danishes ($1.75), is made onsite. The bakery is a new fixture on this changing stretch of the Danforth, opened just 10 months ago.

Celena's BakeryThe Mom & Pop business is run by husband-and-wife-team, Celena and Richard Cambrige, who look more like Mom & Pop's grandchildren than Mom & Pop themselves. (I'll admit; I mistook them for teenagers working the cash.) The pair met at George Brown and went after Celena's dream of starting her own bakery after graduation. Since then, their mustard-yellow painted bakery has attracted an eclectic mix of neighborhood residents and visiting nine to five'ers.

Celena's BakeryLunch favourites include Celena's mini quiches, such as the caramelized onion and spinach quiche ($2.50), or one of the bakery's own fresh pizzas, such as the tomato and bocconcini on sourdough pizza ($4.50). Locals pop by early for a loaf of Celena's signature breads; the very popular roasted garlic sourdough ($4.50) or English-inspired rosemary raisin loaf ($4.50).

Celena's BakeryRichard says a lot of their recipes are bred from his and Celena's English and French heritage, unique to the area that was once largely Italian. The demographics of the neighborhood seem to be in flux, a change that will likely be accelerated as a new condo on Danforth rises up just a block away.

Celena's BakeryThe bakery remains quiet, though, as I munch on my croissant, as a few afternoon commuters stop in for a cheese scone ($2.50) or oatmeal chocolate chunk cookie ($1.25). Celena says they're usually brimming in the mornings with new moms, artists, and people working from home, followed later by the lunch rush, with activity tapering off in the early evening when a lot of their stock has sold out. It seems I nabbed that chocolate croissant just in time.

Celena's BakeryCelena's BakeryWriting by Robyn Urback. Photos by Dennis Marciniak

Discussion

19 Comments

hbr / January 4, 2011 at 09:26 am
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Incredible place , a must visit for baked good lovers...but they really have to change that goddam yellow wall thingy
Fred / January 4, 2011 at 09:42 am
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Celena's is a wonderful addition to a rapidly growing neighborhood. The goods are truly exceptional but my only gripe is the need for some comfy seating...maybe some nice plush chairs or a couch for people to linger in?
Jorge / January 4, 2011 at 10:44 am
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The word is out. This place is awesome.
Angela / January 4, 2011 at 10:52 am
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I've been going to this place since it opened.. It's truly delicious and a welcome addition to the 'hood. The owners are super nice and excellent at what they do. I'd love to see this place expand a bit and get some comfy chairs as well!
Duddy / January 4, 2011 at 11:25 am
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the place is amazing as it is. no need to change anything. its the 22 lots for sale around it that need change...
Duddy / January 4, 2011 at 11:45 am
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the place is amazing as it is. no need to change anything. its the 22 lots for sale around it that need change...
Nirgal / January 4, 2011 at 01:28 pm
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Fantastic products and a great addition to the neighbourhood! I love this place!
Marco / January 4, 2011 at 02:38 pm
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The bread, such delicious bread! If you like your bread nice and Euro-style dense, they've got some yummy loaves waiting for you.

So great to see more of these places opening in our neighbourhood.
Chris / January 5, 2011 at 09:37 am
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We get their baked goods for our office lunch room all the time. They don't last long. The stuff is amazing!!

To all the people who want comfy chairs...I am glad they don't, because then they would sell out all their goodies and there would be nothing left for me!! :)

Happy New Year everyone.
Tim / January 5, 2011 at 06:52 pm
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Great bakery!
j. / January 7, 2011 at 10:40 pm
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Place sounds fantastic. We're in dire need of anything relevant over here.
I'm impressed BlogTO covered a bakery East of the DVP.
I don't mean for that to sound mean - there's just nothing here in my new hood (Danforth & Coxwell).
I miss my old Clafouti croissants - a lot!
Q / January 8, 2011 at 09:55 pm
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To each their own.
Grammer N. replying to a comment from Q / January 13, 2011 at 10:38 pm
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To each his or her own.
donna / January 20, 2011 at 04:43 pm
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I like their offerings and am happy to have them in my hood but I wish their baguettes were crustier on the outside. They are too soft for my taste. I'm not sure why that is. But I still enjoy their scones and other offerings. The lattes are good too and the staff is very pleasant.
Q replying to a comment from Grammer N. / January 27, 2011 at 03:38 pm
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Whatevs, I wouldn't cross to the north side of the Danforth let alone cross the DVP for their stale tasteless products. I think their sourdough starter died and they have yet to notice.
Sarah / January 30, 2011 at 09:31 pm
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What a great addition to the neighbourhood! Delicious brownies, great coffee and ambiance, and lovely people. The friendly barista gave me two loaves of bread for free one evening before they closed - and I wasn't even a regular. They know how to do good business.
JosMcquaid / April 1, 2011 at 11:16 am
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Okay. I just came from Celena's bakery this morning. I ordered an espresso and a croissant, and I went to sit down. After they finished serving all the people who came in after me, they gave me a small lump of twisted dough in a little white bag. I guessed, correctly, that this was my 'croissant'. Okay. I'm fussy. I've spent time in Paris and know what it should be. But this thing was less like a croissant than the monstrosities sold in grocery store bakeries: this was a soggy lump of white, semi-baked dough in a bag. So, I went to the counter and asked if there was something wrong with the croissants this morning (was the oven on the Fritz?). She looked at me like I was from the Dogon planetary system. "No. They are fine. Would you like one that is a little darker?" I declined, politely, deposting the twist of yukky dough and bag on the counter. She offered me to select some other pastry. Well, I don't eat sweets, so I tried the 'scallion scone'. It was stale, fell apart on the little napkin which passes for plates at Celena's, and tasted like it was made from a mix, with a bit of onion thrown in to offset the over-sweet mix. So, I gave up and took the subway to work. Did I mention the espresso was cold? The espresso was coldish: certainly not hot. I should have taken it back, too but I already felt like an asshole for taking the 'croissant' back. Big shame. Hardly edible. No. Not edible. A white, soggy, undercooked slab of twisted pastry. Not a croissant. If you want a coffee and pastry at Danforth and Woodbine, try somewhere else. For sure.
Sarah / May 4, 2011 at 10:31 pm
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I love Celena's! We stop by every Saturday for peanut butter cookies (soooo good), warm whole wheat loaf (which we eat before the day is out) and fresh croissants for Sunday morning's breakfast. It's comfortable and homey, there's seating and good coffee and the staff, especially Richard, are alway so friendly and welcoming. How'd they get so good at this at such a young age???
Adam / August 27, 2011 at 03:21 pm
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@ Sarah: Look at the first picture and that's your answer. See the grandmother? Grandparents are amazing. I'm personally a huge fan. :)

JosMcquaid seems to have had a sucky experience — and Jos, I sympathize with you regarding sucky experiences. There are a few places that I've tried who failed to meet my expectations, and then I give them another chance, and they end up coming through. It's because of this that I'm willing to give Celena’s a try, if I happen to be in the area.

P.S. Thank you for saying "homey" and not "homely," which means ugly. :P

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