Nearly a decade after relocating from Belgium to Apex, Nabela Conté and her husband, Ibrahima, were still homesick for the European cafes they’d left behind. So Nabela, an attorney, and Ibrahima, who works for SAS, decided to quit pining and do something about it. Last week, they opened Belgian Cafe in Apex — conveniently near the Beaver Creek commercial and residential development where they live.
“We want it to be a place we’ll love going to often,” Nabela Conté says. “And if we love it, we figure others will, too.”
To that end, the couple leased a former Subway shop and transformed it into an inviting cafe with warm wood tones and tantalizing photos of classic pastries. They hired veteran French pastry chef Denis Blanco to fill the display case with a colorful assortment of macarons, buttery-crusted fruit tarts and other sweet temptations. They added a selection of cafe classics for breakfast (soft-boiled eggs, croissants, granola with Greek yogurt) and lunch (quiche, tartine, smoked salmon salad).
The Contés are also particular about their beverages: Larry’s Beans for drip coffees, Pilon Cuban espresso for lattes and other espresso drinks, and hot chocolate made with imported Belgian chocolate.
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Greg Cox, the longtime N&O restaurant critic, also covers restaurant news. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.