by Scott Kriska
Residents and visitors alike now have a new dining option for breakfast or just a quick bite to eat. Coco Café, located at 1296 Ridge Rd., is a new bakery that specializes in globally-inspired pastries and breads.
Owner Laura Baciu said the creation of Coco Café developed from her passion for the Hinckley community, as she is a longtime resident of the township.
“My parents moved our family to Hinckley over 30 years ago,” she said. “I grew up here. I’m raising my family here and so this was very much a passion project for Hinckley.”
While the café had opened to the public in late March, Baciu said, she has owned the space where it is located for almost two years.
“It took a while to find a contractor, it took a while to find an architect, but we are very grateful for the community’s patience, as it’s taken us a little while to get it up and running,” she said.
Ten employees currently make up Coco Café’s staff, most of whom live locally in Hinckley or Brunswick. Baciu said in the few weeks the establishment was open to the public, she and her staff served close to 100 customers per day.
“Fridays and Saturdays are our busiest days, and we tend to get very busy around 10 a.m. every day, so if folks want to beat the rush, I say get here as early as possible in the day and the week,” she said.
Among the items on Coco Café’s menu are crepes, pastries, fresh breads, pizza rolls and focaccia sandwiches. The café also serves eight different types of coffee, including affogato, cortado and cappuccino.
As the new business continues to operate, Baciu said, she and her staff plan on adding even more items to their menu.
“We’re a globally-inspired bakery and coffee shop, so we’re always adding items that have ingredients and use techniques that are from different parts of the world,” she explained. “In fact, today, we’re experimenting with some cardamom orange cookies that have flavors that you’d find in the Middle East and some Asian countries.”
Additionally, the staff plans on adding some limited seasonal items to the menu in the future, including churros coming in the summer months. Currently, the menu largely consists of European baked goods and breads.
Prior to creating Coco Café, Baciu worked in healthcare finance for 16 years. She said she’s been able to incorporate many of those skills into her current occupation.
“I do have some experience with small businesses,” she added. “My husband and I have some real estate investments on the side, and that experience has also been very helpful to us as we looked to Coco Café.”
Baciu said her goal in creating and operating the new establishment is to present a friendly and inclusive environment for Hinckley residents and visitors alike to visit and enjoy and to offer customers a taste of cuisine from different parts of the world.
“We really wanted to create a space that was comfortable for everybody,” she said. “We have families that come in, we have children. We have folks who work from home or entrepreneurs that have business meetings here.”
As a small business owner herself, Baciu said, she is a strong supporter of local businesses. Her advice to others who wish to start their own business is to pursue their dreams.
“There are so many doubts that you may have internally,” she said. “There are so many folks who may tell you along the way, ‘You can’t do it,’ but just persevere one step at a time and just do it. If you have a vision and you believe in your vision and you believe in what you accomplish, you will find people along the way to help you do that.”
Coco Café is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. More information on the bakery, including its menu, can be found at cococafehinckley.com. ∞
FEATURED IMAGE: Coco Cafe owner Laura Baciu (standing at left) takes some time to make small talk with some of the customers visiting the new business on a busy Tuesday morning. Photos by S. Kriska.