Connor Claussen just opened a German bakery in Little Italy.
Claussen Cafehaus, a takeout cafe located at 4615 Liberty Ave. in Bloomfield, specializes in organic, soft pretzels in four varieties: original, rosemary, gluten-free bites and a black pepper-and-garlic twist.
The dough is made from whole wheat flour — grown and milled at Frankferd Farms in Saxonburg, PA — salt, dry yeast and malted barley flour. Pair your pretzel with their homemade dips ranging from mustard, butter and cheese to chocolate hazelnut and cinnamon buttercream.
Claussen says a lot of love goes into each pretzel. It’s a family tradition — Connor’s German-born father, Axel Claussen, launched the wholesale company, Axel’s Pretzels, in 2013 and passed on the art of dough twisting to his son.
Axel Claussen started Axel’s Pretzels because he couldn’t find a soft pretzel in Pittsburgh on par with the ones from his homeland. He first sold them at Bryant Street Market in Highland Park and now distributes the freshly baked goods to businesses throughout the region. Four-packs of frozen pretzels will be available in local grocery stores soon.
Having a brick-and-mortar side of the business is a way for the Claussen family to have a direct connection to the end consumer.
“We make a great-tasting product that is also nourishing bodies,” Connor Claussen says. “That seems like a win-win to me.”
During the café’s grand opening celebration on March 20, he sold 150 pretzels in two hours.
The small space boasts a large array of regional products. There are caffeinated beverages from 19 Coffee Company, a variety of teas supplied by Bantha Tea Bar, cold-cut sandwiches served on Mediterra Bake House bread and cool treats from Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream. Claussen is also working on collaborations with other Bloomfield businesses such as Trace Brewing and Bitter Ends Garden & Luncheonette.
On summer weekends, local musicians will perform outside the café.
Stop in and say “guten tag!” from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.