Toronto-based Nügateau Patisserie, a niche bakery chain specializing in éclairs, has opened its third GTA location, and is now exploring expansion opportunities outside of the Toronto area.
Nügateau, which launched in 2015 with a shop on Queen Street West, recently opened its third permanent location at Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga.
While the concept of an éclair is typically associated with the traditional chocolate-topped, cream-stuffed variety, Nügateau offers an assortment of between 15 and 18 different types in its stores, with flavours rotating on a monthly and seasonal basis.
“We were looking at starting something unique and different,” says Atul Palghadmal, co-founder and head pastry chef at Nügateau. He says that although classic éclairs are available at many bakeries, he has never come across another pastry shop specializing exclusively in éclairs or offering different flavours. He and co-founder Abm Kadir saw an opportunity to provide a product that wasn’t being offered elsewhere.
After having success with its initial Queen Street location, Nügateau opened a second location in downtown Toronto’s Saks Food Hall by Pusateri’s on Queen Street. The company experimented with pop-up shops at Square One prior to opening the newest location, and found that the products resonated strongly with customers, according to Kadir.
“Before we do any expansion, we try to test the market,” he says. “It has been really successful [at Square One].”
Although many of Nügateau’s early customers were first-time visitors who were intrigued by the novelty of the concept, over time, the brand has developed a loyal following of regular customers, with many returning every week.
Éclair dough is very difficult to make, Palghadmal says, requiring very specific levels of moisture and humidity. He suspects that’s why éclairs are less common than other types of pastries. Having trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa, Palghadmal gained plenty of experience making éclairs, and became intrigued by the opportunities to experiment with flavours.
“You can create so many flavours and mix and match and do so many creative things with it,” he says. “Once you have the base right, there are no limitations to what you can do with it.”
Nügateau’s most popular flavour, called ‘Romeo’, features hazelnut praline ganache. Other flavours include ‘Cookies N’ Milk’, ‘Mango Passion’, ‘Vanilla Pecan’, and ‘S’mores’, among many others. The company also offers a limited selection of savoury options, such as smoked salmon and ‘Croque Éclair’.
Nügateau rotates its selection of éclairs seasonally, offering a greater selection of light and fruity options during the spring and summer months, and richer, more robust flavours during the fall and winter months. The chain also offers special features for occasions such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter.
The growth that Nügateau has experienced in the past couple of years has surpassed the founders’ expectations, Kadir says. He suspects that the part of the reason for the company’s success and popularity is the high quality of the products and the ingredients.
“Nowadays, people are more aware of what goes into their food,” he says. “Our products have the highest qualify ingredients. That’s one thing we do not compromise on.”
Now that its third location is up and running, Nügateau’s founders are focused on keeping customers happy and ensuring all of the existing locations are operating smoothly before embarking on further expansion. However, Kadir says more growth is on the horizon for Nügateau.
“We definitely are looking to expand outside of the GTA and hopefully outside of Canada as well,” he says. “With the right timing, the right resources, we are definitely keeping our eyes open for future expansion.”