Sweet shop hits the sweet spot

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By Melissa Elsmo

Food Writer

Nestled on "the circle" adjacent to Elmwood Park Village Hall, Seph's Sweets (12 Conti Pkwy.) tempts locals to sit for a leisurely breakfast, savor a blissful butter cookie, or conjure up the cake of their dreams. For nine years the diminutive bakery, café and cake shop has been serving up baked goods made from all-natural, top-quality ingredients.

"Our success is based on caring about every product we make and making genuine connections with our customers," says Sephora Popa, chef and co-owner of Seph's Sweets. "We greet most customers by name and truly know what is going on in their lives."

It was a family decision to open Seph's Sweets nine years ago and Popa has intentionally kept the business within the family. Doing so helps keeps expenses down and ensures quality control over their products. As a result, Seph's Sweets focuses on a seasonally driven rotating menu, including vegan, dairy-free and gluten free treats. Fresh-baked bones are available for your canine companion, while cake balls are a favorite among Seph's youngest patrons. Generously-sized raspberry filled linzer cookies are a favorite among all cookie lovers visiting the shop.

In addition to sweets, Seph's offers a full breakfast and lunch menu. Their most popular breakfast item is "The Usual," featuring two eggs cooked to order, seasoned potatoes, choice of breakfast meat, and pancakes or toast. The Popa family is particularly proud of the house-made sausage available in chicken, pork and vegan varieties. The lunch menu features and array of hot and cold sandwiches, homemade soups and fresh salads.

"I like going between sweet and savory at the shop," says Popa, "and I especially love making our cakes because they let me use my creativity."

Daily business at Seph's Sweets is complemented by Popa's personalized custom cakes and sweet table displays suitable for weddings, birthdays, business events or baby showers. Customers work closely with Popa to develop a theme and set a comfortable budget when creating custom cakes. Popa's passion and talent are evident in every cake coming out of Seph's Sweets.

 "Back in the day, the circle was hopping" said Popa. "I really appreciate the village of Elmwood Park trying to bring that sort of energy back to this area and draw attention to businesses located here." 

The next time you find yourself on "the circle," stop by Seph's Sweets for genuine customer service and a sweet or savory treat.

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