Word of Mouth

Omonoia Bakery changes ownership after forty years, but promises to keep the treats

Omonoia means perfection, according to Gabriela Afework, who was cutting slabs of baklava off of a tray and wrapping them up to go while talking about her bakery.

Perfection is right. Since discovering this tiny bakery at 2813 East Colfax Avenue -- thanks to a tip from someone who used to eat here for lunch while attending East High School over two decades ago -- it's been nearly impossible to stop fantasizing about the treats it proffers, especially the dense honey cookies, which are moist and nutty and sweet. That's when I can resist the baklava, which is unlike any I've ever had, layer upon layer of delicate phyllo dough, balanced with cinnamon and crushed walnuts, and so infused with honey it oozes when you press too hard. It's ethereal. And addictive.

Those treats are sold from a glass case in a space that likely hasn't been updated since Dino Karas opened it forty years ago. The wood paneling and shabby tables are charming, though, reflective of another era that's usually inhabited by gossiping groups of neighbors who stop in for coffee and a pastry.

Sadly, Karas passed away three weeks ago, leaving his legacy -- and the bakery -- to Afework, the mother of his godson. The sale of the shop will be complete within the next couple of weeks, at which point she'll close for a couple of days to remodel and make changes to the worn interior.

That's the only thing that will change, she promises. "The prices and what we sell, that will stay."

Good thing. We don't think we could handle the withdrawal.

For more information, call 303-394-9333.

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk