The search for the perfect pastry can be challenging, particularly if you have a discerning palate or just crave baked goods that are created with basic ingredients and loving care.
Just ask Isabelle Rousseau, a Harrisburg resident and native of Quebec, Canada. Since moving to Harrisburg, Rousseau has been on a mission to find the perfect croissant—and that quest took her to Raising the Bar, a recent addition to the Broad Street Market.
Owned by Casey Callahan and Timishia Goodson, the bakery opened in July, and Rousseau has been visiting since day one.
“It’s so hard to find good croissants in the city,” Rousseau said. “The day they opened, I purchased a croissant, and, 15 minutes later, I returned to tell them how good it was.”
No doubt that Rousseau knows a thing or two about the buttery pastries—they’re a staple in many French Canadians’ diets. In recent months, she has become a Raising the Bar regular, stopping faithfully for the made-from-scratch treats.
Callahan, a graduate of the Restaurant School of Philadelphia, and Goodson, who attended Lancaster County Career and Technology Center and HACC, are passionate about their craft. They honed their skills while forging a friendship working 10 years together at Ciao! Bakery on S. 3rd Street in downtown Harrisburg.
Callahan, a classically trained chef, was honing her baking skills, while Goodson worked there “just helping out” in the kitchen, adding that she never had an interest in baking until seven years ago, when she found herself in front of the oven. And the rest, they say, is history.
Both are still working multiple jobs but hope, as their business continues to grow, they can spend more time focusing on their entrepreneurial endeavor at the market, which has proven to be the perfect spot for Raising the Bar.
“We were looking at places in Lebanon and Elizabethtown, but the market is so up and coming, and we have clientele from our prior job who have followed us here,” Goodson said.
Callahan added that the pair pondered a long time before making the move.
“We talked about this over the past year, realizing we were working in a corporate environment and really wanted to do something different,” she said. “I like the idea of something community focused. I am raising my children here, and I wanted to work where I live. And, because we source many of the ingredients we use in our recipes from vendors right here at the market, it just makes sense.”
Raising the Bar—a name Goodson came up with—references the baked bars they make, including lemon and pecan, which, Callahan says, she’s been baking since culinary school. The shop also offers breads, breakfast strata, cookies, tarts and cakes.
The women focus on recipes that are simple, fresh and uncomplicated, saying that, sometimes, the more complex and clever some recipes aspire to be, the farther away they get from their culinary roots. That’s not to say they don’t enjoy coming up with new ideas to keep things fresh or adding little twists to items to appeal to customers. But each takes a different approach: Callahan prefers reading cookbooks and magazines, while Goodson looks to the Internet. They recently found a great cake recipe that they are trying to modify and develop into one of their famous namesake bars.
Callahan and Goodson are looking toward fall and winter when, they say, they hope to collaborate with other business owners at the market to develop special events that attract new visitors to their location. They already participate in the popular 3rd in the Burg each month in Harrisburg. Patrons also can visit their Facebook page and Instagram account to find out what’s new and for listings about upcoming events.
Raising the Bar is located in the stone building of the Broad Street Market in Harrisburg. The bakery is open during market hours.