Kristen Sisco (pictured) had been dreaming of opening a French bakery for years before officially opening the doors to La Fête Pâtisserie Française. Photo courtesy La Fête Pâtisserie Française

Kristen Sisco (pictured) had been dreaming of opening a French bakery for years before officially opening the doors to La Fête Pâtisserie Française. Photo courtesy La Fête Pâtisserie Française

Inside new Mercer Island bakery La Fête Pâtisserie Française

The eatery, which opened in July, specializes in traditional French pastries.

La Fête Pâtisserie Française, a new French bakery on Mercer Island, officially opened in the middle of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic — an impressive feat few can attest to pulling off.

But the unprecedented circumstances surrounding the opening of La Fête Pâtisserie Française is only one part of a larger narrative that’s been years in the making — a unique grand finale of, or a new beginning to, a long-standing dream.

For most of her adult life, the bakery’s owner, Kristen Sisco, who grew up in the Pacific Northwest, didn’t work in “the pastry realm,” as she puts it. Although baking was always something she was passionate about, she initially studied and then worked in architecture, cultivating expertise in design work.

A few years ago, Sisco decided to switch gears. She’d long had this irrepressible interest and dedication to pastry-making — particularly the niche “high-end, French” kind. So why not pursue it?

She wasn’t going to merely become an expert in this area of cuisine: she was going to more ambitiously open her own shop specializing in French pastries. In 2015, she went back to school — Seattle Central, specifically — to study. She was mentored by a chef hailing from Normandy, a region of northwestern France.

“He was a great help, and a great resource, really dialing in this specific French technique — ‘the French way,’ as opposed to ‘the American way,’” Sisco said.

Sisco had spent a lot of time in France in the course of her life, she said. But after completing her education, she embarked on several sojourns in the country, “doing R&D work and trying to nail down my concept, branding.” She additionally worked with a Las Vegas-based chocolatier on a cookbook.

A sample of some of the bakery’s offerings. Photo courtesy La Fête Pâtisserie Française

A sample of some of the bakery’s offerings. Photo courtesy La Fête Pâtisserie Française

These experiences, Sisco said, helped “expand some of my knowledge, and to get in preparation for [my business].”

She subsequently went on a search for the perfect location for the shop, and 18 months were spent considering potential spaces in Bellevue. At the end of 2018, she finally settled on the current site on Mercer Island — a space that once housed Vietnamese restaurant I Love Pho — and signed the lease.

“I saw the space and just thought it had a lot of potential and a lot of opportunities,” said Sisco, noting that one of her daughters and several friends also live on the Island.

Renovation work began immediately. It was just wrapping up, after more than a year of work, when, in March, coronavirus concerns led Gov. Jay Inslee to issue a stay-at-home order. Sisco said that at the time, La Fête Pâtisserie Française was just about two weeks away from opening. She decided to delay the start date and continue getting things prepared; she said the quick change in development was “shocking,” a feeling exacerbated by how long it had taken to get La Fête Pâtisserie Française ready for the public. A GoFundMe page was published to help raise money for outstanding needs.

“The community’s just been so wonderful,” Sisco said. “I mean, for the last probably seven or eight months of construction, people would come by and are just really interested, and just say, ‘we can’t wait for you to be here.’”

Sisco, characteristic for any new business owner, was anxious about how La Fête Pâtisserie Française’s rescheduled opening day (July 17) would unfold.

“You can make projections, but you don’t exactly know how it’s gonna go,” Sisco said. “And then, on top of that, layering COVID. You just don’t really have a sense about how comfortable people are going to be coming out and trying things.”

But the response turned out to be “wonderful,” Sisco said. The whole weekend saw large swaths of customers, and the business continues to be way busier than predicted, Sisco said.

A behind-the-scenes look at the bakery. Photo courtesy La Fête Pâtisserie Française

A behind-the-scenes look at the bakery. Photo courtesy La Fête Pâtisserie Française

In imagining her bakery, Sisco sought to make her offerings uniquely, contemporarily French — no Americanized intrusions. La Fête Pâtisserie Française offers expected concoctions like croissants and breakfast pastries, but it also emphasizes intricate mousse cakes, tarts, entremets and meringues.

“It’s really trying to make things that are high quality and that taste good, but that are [also] really beautiful aesthetically,” Sisco said. “It’s another way of using creativity and design.”

She said that at La Fête Pâtisserie Française, the menu will rotate seasonally — ensuring it is chef-driven — and that additional refreshments like coffee and tea are just as high-caliber. The coffee, all organic, comes from Olympia’s Batdorf & Bronson. Teas are French-imported.

COVID-19-related obstacles, in tandem with the requisite kinks that come with opening a new business, are to be expected. Sisco is still dedicating much time to properly training new employees, all while maintaining county-mandated health protocols. She hasn’t yet been able to dedicate time to the more high-level dishes she wants to offer customers.

Sisco said that so far, the biggest challenges have been trying to meld her original concept with the limitations imposed by the pandemic (namely having to put more of an emphasis on take-out options), and navigating how to make sure that staff and guests are safe and feel comfortable.

For Sisco, maintaining a sense of perseverance has been crucial.

“There’s not an option but to just move ahead — whatever comes to you, you just deal with it,” she said. “I’m excited to be able to get through this initial opening…I’m very happy to be here.”

For more information about La Fête Pâtisserie Française, click here.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.


More in Business

Stock photo
Grocery store workers have right to wear Black Lives Matter buttons

National Labor Relations Board ruling against ban by Kroger-owned QFC, Fred Meyer

Big Island Poke in Renton (courtesy of The Intentionalist Facebook page)
Small-business advocacy group wants you to try minority-owned businesses and put it on their tab

The Intentionalist is opening up $400 tabs for folks to use this weekend at select businesses.

File photo
The Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce and surrounding businesses in downtown Mercer Island.
Islanders react to mask-free life as things return to normal

Business owners on Mercer Island are also excited to see customers return in greater numbers.

Eastside King County restaurant owners discuss challenges with U.S. Rep Suzan DelBene at Pomegranate Bistro in Redmond. (Photo credit: Cameron Sheppard/Sound Publishing)
Restaurant owners discuss labor difficulties with U.S Rep. Suzan DelBene

Experienced service and kitchen staff are reportedly hard to hire as food service reopens.

From left to right: Craig Wright, Mark Wright and Chris Wright, all co-founders of Wright Brothers Farms. Screenshot courtesy of Wright Brothers Farms
‘We view ourselves as temporary stewards of the soil’

Mercer Island brothers run family’s organic vegetable farm.

Dave and Buster's restaurant and entertainment venue looks to hire 130 people to staff its Bellevue venue, set to open in August. Photo courtesy Dave and Busters.
Dave and Buster’s hiring 130 for August opening in Bellevue

Dave and Buster’s restaurant and entertainment venue opens in downtown Bellevue on… Continue reading

Images of dishes from Issaquah’s Umi Cafe posted on the SMORS page. (Photo courtesy of Kristen Ho)
Facebook page promotes minority-owned restaurants across Puget Sound region

Miya Nazzaro used to be a member of Facebook pages that were… Continue reading

Jenn Boesenberg is the new director of Pixie Hill Preschool. (Courtesy photo)
Pixie Hill Preschool announces new director

Pixie Hill Preschool in Mercer Island has announced a new director, Jenn… Continue reading

The Moe Vegan food truck serves meals at the city of Kent’s annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner on Nov. 21, 2020. Sound Publishing file photo
King County fire marshals offer regulatory relief to food trucks

39 fire authorities have reportedly agreed to standardize fire codes and inspections.

Cash Cards Unlimited partners, left: Nick Nugwynne, right: Cassius Marsh (photo credit: Cash Cards Unlimited)
Former Seahawks player Cassius Marsh cashes in on trading cards

Marsh and his friend open physical and online trading card store as collectibles boom amid pandemic.

First large-scale, human composting facility in the world will open in Auburn

“It’s what nature meant us to do. We just do it faster.”

Whole Foods grocery store entrance (Shutterstock)
King County considers grocery store worker hazard pay for those in unincorporated areas

The King County Metropolitan Council will vote during its next meeting on… Continue reading