Karen Donatelli Bakery & Cafe

Karen Donatelli

Owner / Baker


What is your favorite part of being a restaurant owner in Asheville?

The favorite part of being a restaurant (Bakery & Cafe) owner in Asheville are the many people I meet and care about that come through my door each day!  They become happy customers that love and appreciate our products. I am also happy to provide an establishment that is fortunate to employ such an incredible team that I am so extremely proud of each day! 

What is the background of your restaurant’s name?

Karen Donatelli Bakery & Cafe is my name and my husband’s, we share everything, happily. I had a difficult time trying to come up with a good fit, I may come up with something else someday when I can have the time to think about it.

What ingredient could you not live without?

My favorite ingredient that I couldn’t live without is Chocolate! How can you own a bakery without it?

What is your favorite dish on your menu?

It would be difficult to decide my favorite menu item, I love them all equally and enjoy just about any dessert that is made with thought, passion, and precision. There are several desserts that are favorites on my menu (savory items too 🙂

What is your favorite dish from a fellow AIR restaurant’s menu?

My favorites from other Restaurants are too many to mention them all, and many that I have not tried but looking forward to it when I am out of my own kitchen.  What I do enjoy are the many talents here in Asheville, and the passion that each individual chef brings to the Asheville table! 

Why did you choose Asheville to open your restaurant?

Our family moved here to Asheville in 2000, it was just a matter of timing for me personally, as well as when the demographics were ready for my cafe and bakery business to bloom and grow here in Asheville. 

What is your favorite chef’s tool and why?

My favorite tool is my spatulas that I use every day, I own one that I purchased when I was 16, I still use it and treasure it, it has been with me through many, many cakes and pastries! The other belongs to my husband, we share everything (although I claim it as mine 🙂 also very old, but essentially my favorite. It is my favorite not only for sentimental reasons, it brings many memories, and I can almost say that I have used it on too many cakes to count! I love it because it is old, and works fabulously, still!