The Norman Transcript

December 23, 2012

La Baguette looks to new opportunities

By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — It was 29 Christmases ago when two brothers’ plan to pioneer a French bakery in Norman started falling into place. That plan materialized as a widely-known business in Norman and across the state.

La Baguette Bakery & Cafe first opened its doors July 10, 1984 on Main Street. The business, established by Johnny Jazzar and his brother-in-law Rudy Khouri saw generations of Norman grow up, as it was located across the street from Norman High School.

Khouri said they love their current location on Main St., but they are excited to make a move that will give them more room and allow them to interact with people more. The new location of La Baguette will be at 2100 W. Main St. where Sauced and Boomerang restaurants were formerly located.

“We’re excited about it,” Khouri said. “We’ll have more room to do some exciting ideas.”

Customers have told them to keep a cozy, laid-back atmosphere at the new location, and they plan to do so. They plan to have couches, a fireplace and will stick with the cozy, cafe-style atmosphere.

The brothers also have plans to have a bread oven in the front, behind the counter, so they can interact with customers while they are baking fresh bread. The new location will also allow them to host school field trips and let children come in to decorate cookies and bake Khouri said.

“It sticks with you as a kid,” he said. “And that’s what I’m looking forward to, to interact with people more one-on-one so if they want to have birthday parties or want to decorate cookies, we have more room for that.”

They are hoping to have the new location ready for business before Valentines Day but they know some of the equipment they have ordered will take some time to get in. The building also needs interior and exterior work done to make it look the way they want it to.

“It’s going to look really good,” Khouri said.

Aside from the Main Street location, La Baguette also has a restaurant on the west side of Norman at 1130 Rambling Oaks, just off of Robinson Ave., as well as a sister store in Oklahoma City at 7408 N May Ave.

Khouri said the business was embraced by the Norman community from day one and as customers’ palates began changing and developing, so did their curiosity and willingness to try more things.

The business has grown exponentially over the past 28 years. In addition to the locations listed, they also have a bakery and wholesale production facility in Norman and supply breads, pastries and desserts to over 200 hotels and restaurants.

The business uses about 40,000 pounds of chocolate per year, about 10,000 pounds of flour per week, and lots of butter, cream cheese and other baking ingredients.

At the end of the day though, Khouri said it’s all about the people. The business stays active in the community, including donating bread to Food and Shelter for Friends, participating in Norman’s annual chocolate festival and participating in other community events.

“It’s all about service and people. At the end of the day if you don’t have friends and people aren’t having fun, it’s not worth it,” he said.

Jessica Bruha366-3540jbruha@normantranscript.com

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