French Bakery or Art Museum? 

Both!

An art gallery is a building or space for the exhibition of art.

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As you enter the French bakery Antoinette Boulangerie, you feel you’ve entered such a space.

Antoinette Boulangerie is a sponsor of the Monmouth Film Festival which opens this Friday, August 10th.

An amazing selection of pastries, breads, quiches, tarts, crème brulee and much, much more are offered, including gluten free delicacies.

As you gaze upon them through the glass display case, you truly are looking at works of art.

Heaven on Earth combined with The Louvre, right here on 32 Monmouth Street in Red Bank.

We sat down with Ayca User, General Manager who owns Antoinette Boulangerie along with her sister Zeynep Ozdemir, the Executive Chef.  User is also President of the Red Bank Business Alliance. 

After developing rewarding relationships with clients and colleagues on Wall Street, User is the marketing guru behind this extraordinary shop.  She became more and more passionate about starting and running her own business.  She launched Antoinette Boulangerie with her sister in 2014.

“I was looking for something that I had a passion for.  I turned to my sister and said how about we open a bakery and you run the kitchen and I’ll run the front?” 

Living in Hoboken, they started to scout locations and, “The fact that there is a downtown with a little bit of every kind of business - that’s the reason we choose Red Bank.” 

Acya said that her sister Zeynep Ozdemir has the vision, good taste and is the creative thinker for both their products and the store.  “I always trust her taste.  When you look around the shop you can see how the colors work, the chandelier, the architecture, even having a window into the kitchen – that was her idea.”

Ozdemir graduated from the School of Baking and Pastry Arts of the New York Institute of Culinary Education earning an MBA in Marketing Management from Pace University and an MS in Clinical Nutrition from NYU.  After several stints in New York, London and Paris, she found her passion for the field of French pastry. 

Lucky us!  

User said “At first it was tough working together.  We were finding out a lot about each other – the good and the bad.  But we did come to an understanding on how to trust each other, recognizing each other’s strengths and we’re now in an excellent place.”

They talked about a name for the shop and Zeynep suggested “Antoinette” with Ayca replying “They beheaded her!”  They discussed that she had an edginess, and high-quality tastes in everything from food to fashion.  “The shop connects the overall elegancy from the exterior sign, interior design and high-end pastry and dessert offerings which are work of arts.”  They agreed to add Boulangerie which translates to bakery in French.

User explained that the flavors are not as strong as Americans are used to but can have a hint of something that intrigues the customer - like a lavender French Macaroon which is their most popular treat.  Several of their customers after viewing their beautiful hand-made goodies will say, “Can we eat this?”  “We also have customers that come in and and want one of everything.”

They also offer over forty-five items including croissants, danishes, mini loaf cakes, daily breads and brioche.  Marie Antoinette actually said “Let them eat brioche!” said User.

By making everything from scratch, they maintain control over the quality of the products,  including making their own tart shells.  At parties, baby showers or any other private event, they offer edible favors to the guest to take home.  “We probably did over 1,500 French macaroons alone” said User.  Smart marketing!

They offer catering and are a vendor for several hotels and country clubs and are the official wedding cake vendor for the Molly Pitcher Inn and Oyster Point Hotel.  User pointed out that “We take on any challenge that comes our way.  We don’t turn down anything, including special orders.”

They also have a thriving wholesale business throughout New Jersey, including making special croissants for Red Bank’s Catch19 lobster rolls. 

Thinking about a wedding cake?  Order it here!  They will sit down with you, do a tasting, discuss the design you like from the color scheme of the wedding, to selecting a romantic, vintage or classic style cake.

Creating a wedding cake is intense – it not Betty Crocker!    

It’s a building process that takes three days: resting in the refrigerator to let it settle, building the cake by a midnight shift, and then decorated and delivered for the big day.

When asked how they became a sponsor for the Monmouth Film Festival User said, “I volunteered for the New York Turkish Film Festival and was involved with the NYC Film Festival for many years.  I wanted to have that connection again.  A very good customer who was involved with the MFF reached out to me and I didn’t think twice.”

Working with their outside marketing team, they are exploring a plan for Internet sales but delivering the product is seen as a challenge.  

For weddings, parties or any occasion (special or not), stop in and order your goodies from Antoinette Boulangerie.  Guaranteed that you and your compadres will rave about them long after they're consumed!

They have previously sponsored events such as the Rumson Education Foundation’s Kitchen Tour, the Red Bank Classic 5k and the upcoming Food & Wine Walk which they will be offering coconut macaroons, cake tastings and possibly little eclairs and cookies.