Everyone who regularly reads this blog knows that I adore visiting new-to-me places. But man, do I also love when the experience of trying a new place arrives spontaneously, as it did with my visit to Josef’s European Pastry Shop!
The impulsive jaunt came to fruition one Saturday several weeks ago while a friend and I were en route to Saint Clair Shores with the intention of checking out a couple of breweries (which I’ll be covering in subsequent posts, because they are NEW PLACES!). She’s from Clarkston and currently lives in Waterford, so the East Side is pretty much the other side of the world for her, and we thought it would be fun to take a trip to these breweries she’d never been to, as she enjoys craft beer and rarely gets over to that southeast corner of the Metro D.
While we were driving, my friend mentioned that when she was a kid, her maternal grandmother lived in one of the Grosse Pointes and would often take her to this bakery where she would get these little pink-frosted butter cookies that she loved. She couldn’t recall the bakery’s name and texted her mom for it. I pondered the odds of whether this place she’d likely last visited in the ’90s still existed.
Almost instantly, my friend’s mom texted her back that the name of the bakery was Josef’s European Pastry Shop. A quick Google search confirmed that – lo and behold! – the shop still existed, was currently open, and was about a mile away from where we were at the moment. How’s that for synchronicity?
With everything aligning as it was, you know we had to visit that bakery! Once we reached the familiar-to-me section of Mack Avenue in Grosse Pointe Woods where it’s located, I realized I’d passed it regularly but had somehow never been there. New-place time!!!
According to its website, Josef’s European Pastry Shop opened in 1971, making it 47 years old as of this writing – an impressive legacy for a small business in this day and age.
Walking up to the shop, it was easy to see its appeal. Its red-brick, awning-clad exterior flanked by vibrant flower arrangements was classic and well-kept.
Inside, true to the European-bakery theme, were arranged little round tables intended for sitting and savoring treats. And, of course, there was the pièce de résistance: the large cases displaying said treats.
What goodies were nestled there! There were pastries and pies and cakes and croissants and brownies and cookies – SOOOO many cookies! There were shelves laid with loaves of bread and buns and pizzas. There were so many delectable choices that it was dizzying to decide.
Inevitably, my number was called, and decide I did. I settled on a black-and-white cookie with its half-chocolate, half-vanilla icing and a frosted chocolate brownie with walnuts.
I immediately gobbled up a chunk of that black-and-white cookie, relishing its shortbread and sweet icing. I enjoyed the chewy, walnut-studded brownie a day or so later.
When it came to my friend’s order, she was thrilled to discover that the pink-frosted mini butter cookies of her youth were still being sold by Josef’s. She ordered a boxful and said they tasted exactly as she’d remembered. How exhilarating when, decades later, we stumble upon some relic from our childhood, and it’s exactly how we recall it to be!
21150 Mack Ave.
Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236