This French-inspired Japanese bakery and café is known for its outstanding baked goods.

I first came across Belle’s Bread at the Columbus Weddings Boutique Show in April. I was strolling the booths, chatting with vendors, when I saw the gorgeous gold-and-succulent wedding cake (featured in our nature-inspired photo shoot on Page 136 of the current issue) and fell head over heels in love. Erin Edwards, the dining editor for our sister publication Columbus Monthly, is similarly enchanted with their offerings—in addition to pastries and cakes, the Upper Arlington shop sells Japanese-inspired sandwiches featuring items like soft shell crab and teriyaki chicken.

But I digress.

I wanted to learn more about the bakery, which seemed to appear on our radar out of nowhere, so I sat down with shop manager Mika Lecklider, who works alongside her parents and shop owners Takashi and Francoise Takenaka.

 How did Belle’s Bread get its start?

My father, who is originally from Japan, came to Columbus 31 years ago to open a Japanese restaurant. Over the years he has opened various other Japanese stores in the same shopping center, which is now called Japan Marketplace. He thought that a Japanese bakery would be a great addition to the complex, so in 2011 he got a special 9-month contract with the head baker of a Japanese bakery in New York to come train our staff how to bake. This baker was professionally trained in Japan, and the owner of his bakery was trained in France. This business has become a family affair, with me managing the bakery, my father overseeing everything, and my mother doing the accounting.

What kind of bakery is Belle’s Bread? What makes your cakes different from ones at other Central Ohio bakeries?

Belle’s Bread is a Japanese bakery. The Japanese are known for using traditionally French baking techniques, so you can find many classic French treats with a Japanese twist. You will find traditional French items, such as croissants and baguettes, as well as unique Japanese items, such as curry doughnuts and red bean paste buns.

Our cakes aren’t very sweet like traditional American cakes. Instead of frosting and icing, we use natural whipped cream and premium chocolates. Our sponge cakes are best described as light, airy and moist. You won’t feel heavy or guilty after eating a slice.

What are your most popular cakes?

Our strawberry cake is the most popular cake. In Japan, families traditionally eat it for holidays and special occasions. Another honorable mention is our French-style tiramisu.

You can find Belle’s Bread at 1168 Kenny Centre Mall in Upper Arlington and online at bellesbread.com. Stop in to the store to sample their wares à la carte, or call them at 614-451-7110 to schedule a wedding cake tasting.