Paul Osakwe, one of the owners of the newly opened Green Leaf Organic Bakery and Café in Wilton, is making his dream of pleasing people with his delicious food a reality.
“A woman called me on the phone, three days after we opened, and said, ‘There’s no way your pastries are organic—they taste too good.’ She’s come back every day but one since we opened. That’s what makes me get up in the morning: the fact that I want to have the best product out there, and watching you eat it.”
Osakwe gets up very early to start work: “I come in every morning at 3:30 am to bake everything. The same as you’d have in Paris, you can smell the fresh baked bread. Here, when you walk in any morning, your croissant or muffin was made most likely 10-15 minutes ago, and it’s still hot. We represent the freshest you can get.”
The restaurant opened at the end of July in Michelina’s former space, at 126 Old Ridgefield Rd. Osakwe and his partner in the venture, Robin Marvin, renovated the space in hopes of making it a spot where guests will want to linger with brighter lights, free wi-fi, plentiful seating and an outdoor terrace with umbrella-covered tables. “We changed it up a bit, to make it more inviting.”
The core emphasis of the café is its menu, which Osakwe said is all about fresh, quality, organic fare.
“We will be having two soups daily—one a soup of the day, which will fluctuate; and we’ll have a fire-roasted vegetable soup, which we’ll be getting all the vegetables from . We’d like to stay local. We make an array of sandwiches — all of our sandwiches are tartines, which are open-faced sandwiches, they’re European. A lot of our dishes are low calorie, and everything is made fresh, made to-order and day-of.”
He added, “Almost everything is organic — if something is not organic, when I can find an organic option, we will. We don’t even have Splenda, we have Stevia and agave. Our coffee is organic, it’s roasted for us to order in New York City. Everything we do is like that. We take the organic thing pretty seriously here.”
Osakwe also touted the gluten-free items on the menu. “A lot of our salads are, and even our fallen chocolate soufflé.”
Coincidently, the soufflé is one of his favorite items to make. “It’s really intense. It’s one of the things I’m most proud of.”
Green Leaf offers several desserts and pastries in addition to that chocolate soufflé. Among the tart varieties luring customers behind the counter glass are pear chocolate, marzipan almond and fresh berries; individual fruit pies tempt as well. “I would put my pies up against anyone,” said Osakwe.
The partners, who both live in Wilton, were encouraged by the recent resurgence in the town’s restaurant scene, but Osakwe believed there was an empty niche to fill. “I moved to Wilton five years ago and we haven’t really had any dessert places. There seemed to be a void for fresh-made pastry — a good croissant.”
Pleasing guests seems to be Osakwe’s highest priority, at any cost. “When I see a plate come back, I ask ‘What did [the customer] say?’ Terrific, wonderful— those are words I like to hear. Anything other than that, we’re going to buy you your meal. If you don’t like something I would rather you tell me than not come back.”
Green Leaf Organic Bakery and Café is located at 126 Old Ridgefield Rd., and is open Monday-Friday 6:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m.-6 p.m.; and 8 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday. The Green Leaf menu is posted on the restaurant’s website, www.greenleaforganicbakery.com.