But no longer.
With the opening of La Magie Bakery in the spot on Jan. 30, owner Di Long has transformed the space into a European-inspired bakery and lunch spot decked with lavender and Granny Smith apple-colored walls.
Magazine displays have been replaced with bistro tables adorned with Peruvian Lilies and arrangements of bamboo. Huge picture windows welcome in the sunshine, and the upstairs offers a secluded spot for a reflective cup of coffee.
Throw pillows and tufted armchairs feel like a wonderfully eccentric aunt has invited you to spend the afternoon lounging in her parlor, savoring Parisian pastries; and La Magie offers quite a selection.
Boasting a pastry case filled with éclairs, Napoleons and tarts, some of which are stuffed with strawberries and Belgian chocolate, the selection has a decidedly European feel. Croissants, quiche Lorraine, samosas and empanadas round out the options.
With such a large variety of enticing sweet and savory baked goods Long says that people were always asking for her recipes.
"I would tell them 'There's something magical in it', that way I wouldn't have to let them know my secrets," laughed Long, "and that's how I got the name 'La Magie Bakery', French for 'The Magic Bakery'."
Long has been a long time member of the local culinary scene, coming from a family in Bend whose other restaurant endeavors include Soba, Tomo Sushi, & Szechuan Restaurant. Long has also worked at 5 Fusion & Sushi Bar under owner Lillian Chu, which is where she began making a chef's rare transition into pastry.
"Our pastry chef left and [Lillian] suggested I learn pastry. So I signed up for a class to learn how to make one chocolate cake," said Long. One cake recipe soon transformed into 10 and then a one-and-a-half month intensive course where Long solidified her love for baking.
"I learned so many techniques under [her]," Long said, speaking of her mentor Marda Stoliar, director of the International School of Baking in Bend. "Besides the European recipes and techniques, I wanted to have an international world feel."
Keeping a local focus, La Magie Bakery is dedicated to hiring and training other local baking talent.
"All of our bakers are either current students or graduates from the COCC culinary program," said Long.
La Magie Bakery has also partnered with Lone Pine Coffee Roasters to stock their full-service coffee bar. They're using the coffee to design a whimsically named menu with drink combinations like the 'Parle Blue France' and the 'French Kiss,' an espresso drink flavored with white chocolate and blackberry.
"My background is Asian, so the bakery is always going to have some of that influence," said Long, who is planning to expand the bakery's selection soon with items like Chinese pork buns. "I'm still a part of Soba and Szechuan, and I still go down to Tomo's on Monday to help with sushi, but I also wanted to have my own thing - it was just the right time."
She said she is passionate about baking, which is important when you have to wake up at 1 a.m. to get the job done. But her hard work is already turning a great local response and drawing repeat customers.
"It's the right amount of sweet," said customer Nella Duriex, while enjoying a slice of Napoleon. "Like clouds in your mouth."
The éclairs are light and rich, only falling short because one might want to indulgently down a dozen or so.
Cakes are available full or individually sized in flavors like red velvet and chocolate truffle.
Artisan breads are made daily with varieties in olive, pecan, and rye. A Signature Black Russian Loaf is flavored with molasses and espresso.
"We want to be the local place down the street, where you come for your coffee and pastry in the morning, where you come to buy your bread for dinner," said Long.