Café Life

Celtica French Bakery brings modern Parisian flair to Lakeview
Lens Workspaces 06

Quick Look

Opening date
Oct. 7, 2020
Style architecture
Square footage
1,574 square feet with a 274-square-foot patio
Persons in Charge
French pastry chef Dominique Rizzo and business partner and manager Sirlei Guidry.
studioWTA with Julie Babin, principal in charge and Daniel Kautz, project manager and designer
Furnishings and art
Selected by owner Dominique Rizzo and Sirlei Guidry; the paintings in the space are by Simon Hardeveld, a New Orleans-based French artist and friend of Rizzo.

If while enjoying baguettes, croissants or any other offerings at Celtica French Bakery in Lakeview, you’ve been reminded of a delectable pastry you had at a French boulangerie in Paris, it’s not your imagination. Pastry chef Dominique Rizzo grew up in France, not far from Paris, in fact. Many know Rizzo from his former business La Boulangerie on Magazine Street, which he sold to the Link Restaurant Group in 2015.

In 2020, Rizzo got back in the kitchen, opening Celtica with business partner Sirlei Guidry. To make their vision for the new space a reality, Rizzo and Guidry turned to Julie Babin, principal in charge, and Daniel Kautz, project manager and designer, at studioWTA. The bakery is inside a newly built, two-tenant development that studioWTA also had a hand in designing.

Babin said Rizzo wanted a space modeled after neighborhood bakeries in his native France. From laying out the bakery equipment, which was imported from France (“by way of Canada”), to concepting the modern café aesthetic in collaboration with Rizzo and Guidry, Babin said the goal was to create a warm and inviting space. She recently took time to share more details about the bakery’s design.

What were the client’s top priorities for this project?
Julie Babin: After several years without a bakery, following the sale of La Boulangerie, Dominique wanted to open in another neighborhood. He wanted his space to be warm, modern and welcoming. He also made a large investment to import French baking equipment.

What were the design team’s goals?
Babin: A French bakery that blends tradition with contemporary design. The name Celtica was chosen as a reference to the Celtic history of France, a region where Dominique is native.

What was the biggest design challenge?
Babin: Allen Toussaint Boulevard is a neighborhood corridor that can sometimes feel more oriented to cars than to pedestrians. The bakery needed a street presence that would appeal to someone driving by but also contribute a sense of walkability. The team sited the cafe seating at the primary corner and opened that space up with expansive glazing. Additionally, we provided for covered outdoor seating along the side street so that it would feel more private, and less busy than the flow of Allen Toussaint.

Another challenge was maximizing the seating area. Commercial kitchens typically require a large portion of floor area, but even more so at Celtica, where the kitchen and service areas consume almost 75% of the available square footage. The team utilized large expanses of glass, window seating, and two-top tables to allow the seating area to feel as large as possible.

What is the standout feature of the design?
Babin: We wrapped the seating area with custom-built steel windows and a steel plant ledge built into the windows at transom height to create a garden cafe feel with daylight filtered by hanging plants. This helped to create a calm interior on a busy street and offer enticing views from the street.

For the exterior, we designed a steel and wood awning that creates shade and protects an outdoor seating garden. There is an intimate entry porch centered between the two tenant spaces and a rear entry via a shared common hallway at the rear parking lot. The design team helped create custom reclaimed cypress shelving, counters and a bench for the interior buildout.

Where did you glean inspiration for the project?
Babin: We see the project as part of the Lakeview neighborhood’s recent efforts to expand an underdeveloped stretch of the commercial corridor with small businesses that improve the neighborhood life.


Celtica French Bakery 218 Allen Toussaint Blvd. //