Laughlin's Bakery: A Must-Visit
Jonas Laughlin was an opera singer-and a great-looking one, at that. But a cold sabotaged his dreams, leaving his pipes permanently damaged.
So he threw himself into baking.
"It was very similar," said Laughlin, 32, "involving practice and refinement."
And this, quite obviously, was his destiny.
After selling his goodies to Columbus restaurants and finding success with catering, Laughlin began hosting pop-up bakeries that generated as much as $2,000 in sales a day.
So he left his job as a graduate teaching assistant and doctoral student in Ohio State's school of music. He launched a Kickstarter campaign that surpassed his $35,000 goal in less than two weeks. And with help from other Columbus business owners, he leased a Short North space just off High St. in September, gutted it, reworked his recipes to adapt to commercial ovens, and opened Dec. 6.
The charming Laughlin's Bakery is at 15 E. 2nd Ave., around the corner from Happy Go Lucky, Zen Cha and Mukha.
And this new Short North bakery is legit, with sophisticated, mouth-watering delicacies made from scratch with real ingredients.
In the bread? Four things: water, yeast, flour and salt. The gingerbread cookies include 10 different spices and are spiked with citrus. A few of the cakes, like the red velvet, are his grandma's recipes, "and those are straight from 1920s North Carolina."
And the almond croissant? It's one of the more amazing things I've ever put in my mouth. (Note: When something includes a sign that says "Baker's Favorite," it's probably a good place to start.)
Also, don't miss the Florentines. You can score a bag of them for $5 and be the hit of the party.
Laughlin hopes his shop-which includes a few tables but is meant to be a European-style grab-and-go-offers something for every person and every budget. (Goodies like lemon madeleiens start at just $1.)
And one month in, he's thrilled.
"It's been amazing," Laughlin said.
-Kristy Eckert, @kristyeckert