Le Chronic Cafe Serves Aunt Kathy’s Eclairs, Comfort Food

Bryan Merkel, chef at Le Chronic Cafe, blends recipes remembered from home with all he's learned on the culinary road.

By Kevin Collison

In opening Le Chronic Cafe at the City Market, chef Bryan Merker is fulfilling a promise he made to his Aunt Kathy years ago.

As a kid in Kansas City, he always enjoyed the wonderful eclairs his aunt prepared.

“My aunt was an amazing baker,” Merker recalled. “She always made eclairs so as kids we were excited to go over to Aunt Kathy’s. We’d always remember the desserts.

“She made me promise, if you open another restaurant, you’ll serve eclairs.”

Aunt Kathy also took him aside to share her eclairs were from his grandmother’s recipe.

One of the cafe’s signature pastries is Chronic Cake, this one the White & Ruby Chocolate Glazed Chronic filled with mixed berries. (Photo from Le Chronic Cafe)

His new cafe located in the City Market arcade at 419 Main St. features eclairs, cream puffs, crepes and other wonderful desserts.

Just don’t go there expecting beignets from the former operator of the popular Market eatery of the same name.

“The only cajun food is gumbo,” Merker said.

What you will find is his take on comfort foods including Mac and Cheese, Mama’s Meatloaf, Uma’s Lumberjack Goulash and Charcuterie Chakalaka.

“I’m doing classic dishes, things I grew up eating when I was a kid,” he said.

And then there’s something a bit more exotic, his signature pastries, Chronic Cake.

Le Chronic Cafe is located in the City Market arcade at 419 Main St.

“It’s a fluffy spiral shaped pastry that is baked, glazed and/or covered in chocolates with a decadent filled center,” Merkel said.

“We will have all different varieties of these on a first come first serve basis. When they are gone, they are gone.

Merkel grew up in Kansas City and left home to follow his culinary muse beginning in New Orleans, then up and down the West Coast including a nine-year stint in San Francisco and finally returning to his roots 12 years ago.

“I came back because of my son, I wanted a homecoming so my parents could enjoy my son growing up,” he said.

The cafe opened earlier this month. Hours are Tuesdays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed on Monday.

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