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Flavors of France: Ho. Co. transplant to open French bakery downtown

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petite patisserie

NICHE — Stephanie Massouda stands inside her new French-style pastry shop, Petite Patisserie, in downtown Kokomo. Massouda is finishing renovations and anticipates opening on Jan. 18.

When Stephanie Massouda moved to the area two years ago from Philadelphia, she realized the City of Firsts was missing a French patisserie.

Massouda, who loves baking the delicate pastries and sweets that she calls “edible art,” wondered if that was because no one had tried it yet or because there wasn’t a market for it. So, she started selling her goods at the Kokomo Downtown Farmers’ Market and got her answer; there was a market for it. Now, the 27-year-old is building on that and opening her own shop, Petite Patisserie, downtown.

“It’s exciting because it’s been something I’ve wanted to do, so just to be able to open and get back in the kitchen and doing what I like is really exciting,” Massouda said.

While in Philadelphia and going to college, Massouda worked in the food industry, working for different bakeries, cafes, and chocolate shops, and she loved it. Her long-term plan always was to open her own patisserie, but it happened much sooner for her than she thought. In 2016, her husband moved to Kokomo to work his “dream job” at AndyMark, and Massouda followed in 2018 after graduating from college.

This year, she saw a storefront on Main Street hit the market, and the aesthetic was perfect for a French bakery. It was too good to pass up. For the past several months, she’s been renovating the space to make it even more “French,” and she’s looking forward to finally opening her doors. She expects to open on Jan. 18.

Petite Patisserie will offer Massouda's best-sellers from the farmers’ market, like oat bars and cream horns, and add to that to include fresh-made bread, bagels, breakfast pastries, fine French pastries, along with some more Americanized-style treats like lemon bars.

Items like soups, salads, and sandwiches will be available for the lunch crowd, and the shop will feature an extensive drink menu of smoothies and coffee, including espresso, nitro, and cold brew. Come spring, Massouda will offer gelato, something else she said will fill a niche in downtown Kokomo.

Massouda has been having fun crafting her menu. Baking, she said, is something she’s always loved, especially the French style.

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Stephanie Massouda

TREATS — Stephanie Massouda pulls bagels out of the chiller at Petite Patisserie, which will offer both savory and sweet items.

“Growing up, my parents baked. My dad was big into baking. My mom was big into baking, and … I took French when I hit high school and really enjoyed it. And then from there, I really liked the delicateness of it. It’s a lot of different flavors. It’s a really beautiful presentation, and I really fell in love with that side of it. It’s kind of like edible art, so that’s what I really like about it because I like to be creative not only with the flavors but also how it looks,” she said.

While Massouda never imagined her dream would come true during a pandemic, she said being able to observe how other businesses have navigated the pandemic will be an asset for her. Out the gate, she will have plenty of ready-to-go offering for her customers, something that has proven valuable.

“We can take what we have seen work for other businesses and start off like that,” she said.

Next fall, Massouda plans to expand her business and open the other half of the building as an upscale cocktail lounge and banquet room.

Massouda has a staff of 13 on board, including two bakers other than herself, front office staff, food prep, and baristas. In addition to opening her new venture, Massouda is attending IU Kokomo, working toward a master’s in business administration.

Petite Patisserie is located at 108 N Main St. in downtown Kokomo. Hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 to 8 p.m. Friday, and 10 to 8 p.m. on Saturday. For more information, visit petitepat.com.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to state the new anticipated opening date of Jan. 18, which was pushed back from Jan. 8.