Named for a plump, Bundt-molded Central European cake, Durham’s Guglhupf has grown since it opened in 1998 from a German bakery and patisserie to a sprawling café and restaurant. Serendipitously for those of us who live farther west, Guglhupf has now sprawled over to Chapel Hill, where cofounder and owner Claudia Kemmet-Cooper opened a second location—the Chapel Hill Bake Shop—on November 28. The Guglhupf website notes that the arrival of the bake shop harkens to their retail roots, and they’re right; the 1,250-square-foot nonbaking facility retains the airiness and calming fridge-hum of the original Durham bakery and grocery, with all the standard fresh pastries, cakes, and breads for sale (shipped down Tobacco Road three times daily).
Vibe: Fresh, breezy, open—for a small space sandwiched between a dry cleaners and a wine store. On opening day, the front doors were flung open and you could see the interior’s long view from the outside: sturdy wood cabinetry, waiting bench, and eating counter; a string of mod glass-encased bulb chandeliers above the cases housing bread, pastries, and bottled drinks. In sixty-seven-degree late-November sunshine, the little patio outside—amicably adjacent to one of the busiest parking lots of Chapel Hill—was lovely. Just like Germany! But with an Ulta Beauty nearby.
Menu: You’ll find all the usual suspects from the Durham Guglhupf: croissants, danishes, cream puffs, cakes, tarts; bread (loaves and rolls); cold and hot drinks, and a miniature grocery. The shelves are stocked with a few items—Big Spoon Roasters nut butters, pickled goods, Guglhupf-branded paraphernalia—with plans to introduce more during the shop’s second phase. Also to come in the later phases: expanded hours (currently, they’re open Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m.-7 p.m., and Sunday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and pre- and online ordering, including birthday cakes.
Price range: Conveniently, nearly everything—coffee, espresso, and other beverages; pastries and cake items; bread rolls and loves—falls roughly within the range of two to six dollars. Grocery products vary depending on the item.
What to order: Lorde sings, in “Supercut”: “In my head/ I do everything right.” And so it is with me and Guglhupf’s chocolate croissant. It’s my old standard: I never pass it up, and it rewards me in turn. It flakes and crunches without disintegrating, and the interior bar never succumbs to the fate of lesser pastries, wherein the chocolate either quickly becomes soup or makes an audible crunch when you bite into it. Pair with an Orangina and there you have a supercut of my youth. Right now, the seasonal danish is pumpkin pie: a lake of syrupy sweet, with candied seeds on top. The Milchkaffee (café au lait) would be great with any powdered pastry, but I like the idea of pairing it with a buttered slice of Bauernbrot, a rye bread. And since it’s almost that time of year, keep an eye out for Weihnacht’s Christmas stollen (dried fruit inside, powdered sugar outside).
Perfect for: Grabbing pre-work coffee and pastry, stopping for a loaf and jam on the way home, placating your children each time you delude yourself into thinking Sunday evening grocery shopping is a good idea.