Cult Japanese cream-puff bakery whips up first Austin location
A Japanese chain that has garnered a cult following with its dreamy cream puffs is whipping up its first location in Austin.
Local entrepreneur Bobby Chen tells CultureMap that he plans to open a franchised location of Beard Papa’s in early 2021 near the IPIC movie theater at the Domain in North Austin.
“I feel the Austin area has so many great food and dessert options, but it was missing out on one of my favorites — the Beard Papa’s cream puff,” Chen says. “It has a light and flaky shell with a custard texture cream that is just the right amount of sweetness. It is a memorable product, and I wanted to bring that to Austin.”
These aren’t just any cream puffs, either. The shell of a Beard Papa’s cream puff comes in eight varieties: original, strawberry eclair, chocolate eclair, green tea eclair, Oreo cookie crumble eclair, dulce de leche eclair, honey butter eclair, and crispy almond. There also are eight options for fillings: vanilla, green tea, ice cream, pumpkin, mint chocolate, mango, strawberry, and chocolate
In addition to its signature cream puffs, Beard Papa’s serves three desserts — chocolate fondant (molten chocolate lava cake), cheesecake and creme brûlée — and three flavors of blended cream drinks (mango, strawberry, and Oreo).
Chen says that aside from the Domain location, he might open one more Beard Papa’s in the Austin area.
Beard Papa’s dates back to 1999 with the opening of a small bakery in Osaka, Japan.
“People in the town couldn’t resist the aroma from the bakery or the kind face of the owner, Yuji Hirota. His fluffy white beard was so renowned that he became known as ‘Beard Papa’ to all of his regular customers,” the company says on its website.
Children regularly inquired about when the owner would create some sort of “delicious treat.” That’s when the Beard Papa’s cream puff was born. Today, the chain operates more than 400 locations around the world.
The company says Hirota perfected his puffs by making a double-layered pâte à choux (a light, airy, crispy pastry) on the inside and pie crust on the outside. To fill the pastry, he concocted a mixture of whipped and vanilla custard cream. Beard Papa’s stores still use that original recipe.
In 2019, Beard Papa’s said it was on track to have 300 locations in the U.S. by 2024. The company opened its first U.S. store in 2004. The Austin shop will join four existing locations in Texas: Frisco, Plano, Houston, and Katy. A new store also is coming next year to the Houston suburb of Spring.