What is it about South Florida Avenue that’s attracting bakery cafes?  We’re not sure. And we surely don’t mind.

Fleur Bistro opened this month at 4525 S. Florida Ave. It offers scratch pastries, exotic teas, specialty coffee and wines. Just a block a way, Cafe Zuppina opened The Market earlier this year and then enhanced it with an upscale coffee shop.

Things are going great,” said Fleur coordinator Taryn Epperson. “The concept of a French-inspired bistro has been received really well.”

Photos by Greg Williams

Lunch and dinner offerings include ham and cheese croissants, cheesecake, and European pastries like the custardy mille-feuille and rum and vanilla canelé with a soft, custard-like center. Everything is made in house and from scratch.

The bistro is expanding to offer lunch and evening options and will also include wine tastings, open to the public.

“We strive to be a warm inclusive atmosphere where everyone feels welcome to dine, drink and chat,” Epperson said.

She said Fleur Bistro is unique in that it consistently bakes continental cuisines from scratch.

For business meetings and wine tastings, Fleur Bistro also features a community room.

Owner Yvonne Krumm, who moved to Lakeland seven years ago and her Lakeland native husband, Rick, strive for an intimate environment at Fleur Bistro, while aiming to build a community of wine and coffee lovers.

Speaking of community, The Market at Café Zuppina opened this past year as an addition to the 10-year-old Lakeland favorite Café Zuppina, owned by Berna and Erkan Nar.

Originally from Turkey, Berna moved to Lakeland in 2003, opening Café Zuppina 10 years ago. She and Erkan opened The Market this past year to attract foodies.

“They value food as more than a meal and are interested in the process and history that led to its creation,” Berna said.

She originally opened a sandwich shop in Plant City but was drawn to Lakeland to open Café Zuppina because of the larger market and growing community of food lovers.

“Over the years, many new spots have opened in Lakeland that show people are increasingly looking for local-made gourmet products,” she said. “The Market has been the obvious next step that allows us to share more and more with this community.”

Top items at The Market include Turkish Spice Latte, Triple Chocolate Mousse, Mixed Berry Tart and quiche. The quiche shows some experimentation with flavors like lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, brisket and cranberry goat cheese.

Besides bakery items, The Market also features a store of international products, like Turkish coffee, a gelato bar and fresh food from Café Zuppina.

Fleur Bistro is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day of the week. It is located at 4525 S. Florida Ave.

The Market at Café Zuppina is at 4417 S. Florida Ave. Hours are Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat. 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m., closed Sunday.

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