Story and photos by Keiko Kimoto
MSUM mass communications major
|Nichole’s Fine Pastry is at 13 S. Eighth St. in Fargo.|
There is a store that attracts people in the Fargo-Moorhead area with its relaxed yet elegant atmosphere and tasty desserts; a bake shop that serves original European-American desserts along with lunch items, coffee and tea. This store is Nichole’s Fine Pastry.
Nichole’s Fine Pastry has been open since 2003 as a shop that serves mainly pastries and cakes made from scratch. The menu usually consists of 20 to 25 desserts but it changes twice a year with different menus for the seasons – spring to summer and fall to winter with some seasonal features for the holidays. Chocolate cake is ordered a lot throughout the year and fresh fruit tarts are a popular selection during the summer.
|Fresh fruit tarts sparkle with vibrant colors.|
Nichole’s Fine Pastry
Nichole Hensen, originally from Glenburn, N.D., is a pastry chef and the owner of Nichole’s Fine Pastry. While studying at the University of North Dakota she developed an interest in the restaurant business, although it was not her major. She worked at a deli and liked the atmosphere.
After she graduated she worked on computers. Although she mostly liked it, she didn’t enjoy sitting at a desk all day.
|Nichole Hensen, pastry chef and owner of Nichole’s Fine Pastry.|
Hensen made a career switch. She decided to attend pastry school, the Culinary Institute of America at Graystone in St. Helena, Calif. She chose California because it was different than where she had been and she wanted to see new things. Additionally, the environment of the school is appropriate for those who aim to be a chef. Graystone is close to San Francisco and in the center of the Napa Valley where food is known for its high quality and fressness.
Hensen graduated from pastry school and worked as a pastry chef in California and then decided to go back home to North Dakota.
“I was like ‘I’m going home because I could shine here,’ ” Hensen said. “I figured why not bring good quality desserts back to my home state.”
|Cakes are displayed in the showcase.|
She decided to move back to Fargo. She worked as a pastry chef at the VIP Room and as a chocolatier at Widman’s and built her career in Fargo. Ultimately, she decided to start her own store, Nichole’s Fine Pastry.
What attracts people to Nichole’s Fine Pastry
When Hensen decided to open her own shop, specific needs were to be met. Her kitchen, she decided, wasn’t going to be in a basement or back room with no windows. Instead, she arranged the kitchen to be on the same floor as the eat-in space. It not only makes the work space fun but also affects the customers, she believes.
|Menu boards and pastries.|
“Nichole’s Fine Pastry offers a different type of environment that isn’t found around this area,” said Rachel Hamre, a fan of desserts at Nichole’s. Both the desserts and the atmosphere beckon Hamre to visit repeatedly.
“I think they have the best pastries in the Fargo-Moorhead area,” Hamre said. “The store makes everything from scratch, so everything tastes very good and fresh.”
A specialty cake is displayed at Nichole’s Fine Pastry.
Although making products from scratch makes it possible for the store to create original desserts, doing so is not an easy task. Hensen and her staff constantly emphasize personal work ethic to ensure they create quality desserts. That work ethic and attention to detail has allowed Nichole’s Fine Pastry to attain and maintain popularity in the Fargo-Moorhead area, Hensen believes.
|The shop also makes and sells several kinds of sorbets and gelatos.|
Hamre recommends her favorite, coconut cream pie, and describes it as “the best I have ever eaten.”