Owners and high school sweethearts Peri and Alex Malsom began cultivating the dream that would eventually become Cj’s Patisserie many years ago. While pursuing degrees at Northern, Alex worked as a barista and fell in love with the art of making coffee, while Peri studied art and visited France. Cj’s Patisserie, open now for nearly a year and a half and located in downtown Aberdeen, is a true hybrid of its owners’ passions.
An authentic family business, Cj’s was named for Alex’s grandmother Cora Jane, who provided an education trust that allowed Peri and Alex to follow their dream of creating something together at French Pastry School, in Chicago. “We wanted to bring something special to this community that is high quality and delicious.” And that’s exactly what they did. In keeping with the French theme, the bakery has been styled “Patisserie,” for the French word for pastry shop, and serves up a whole lot of butter.
When asked why someone should visit the patisserie, Peri answers simply: “Because it’s delicious!” Cj’s serves up a variety of tasty treats that are all made from real ingredients, and flavors and options change on a daily basis. They always offer some sort of breakfast pastry, like croissants, scones, and brioche; a type of bread, such as French baguette or honey wheat; a few different kinds of sweet treats, like eclairs, macarons, cookies, and cupcakes; and two flavors of soup a week, like chicken noodle and broccoli cheese. Everything is made from scratch and baked fresh every day; even their coffee syrups are homemade and unique, including flavors like lavender honey.
Besides their French-style menu, customization is something that sets Cj’s Patisserie apart from other dessert places around town. “If you had a favorite macaron flavor and asked me to make it tomorrow, I would do my best to make that happen,” Peri says. They even offer two gluten-free items every day in an attempt to cater to every guest that walks through their doors. “We want to feed everyone; we’ll make sure you get something delicious in your tummy.”
Peri and Alex have a lot in mind for the future of Cj’s Patisserie. Peri explains how she hopes to one day provide cake decorating and macaron-making classes, among others, to the community. They would also like to expand production space in order to accommodate all of the wholesale requests from businesses around town. In the nearer future, Peri hopes their dream of expanding seating to the second floor of their building will become a reality, opening up the possibility of a potential breakfast and lunch menu full of crepes, sandwiches, and maybe even a “Sorbet of the Day.”
At the end of the day, for Peri, it’s really just about seeing people happy. Inside the pastry shop the atmosphere is warm and welcoming, and smiles are abundant. These are her favorite memories. “[It’s] the first time someone tries something we make and the ‘mmmm’ that follows… I also love when people get frosting on their noses when they bite into a cupcake,” she laughs. With an ultimate goal of spreading happiness, and sharing what they’ve learned with the community Peri and Alex feel like all the hard work has been well worth it. “It’s a great feeling to create something unique and special, share it, and have it be so well-received and appreciated,” she says. “Everyone here is so supportive of us… We will continue to serve this great little place we call home, and with any luck more people will discover us each day.” // – Erin Ballard
Cj’s Patisserie can be found across from Central Park, just north of the Aberdeen Civic Theatre. For more information on daily flavors and specials, visit their Facebook page or call (605) 622-0607.