Who says you can’t have it all? At Gür Sweets Bakery in Elmhurst, Ill., you can avail yourself of all the traditional delectables an American/European bakery offers plus the treats of South Asia, which typically includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
Owner Rubina Hafeez made the quantum leap from software engineering to another creative, demanding field — pastry — and never looked back. With the designation of Certified Pastry Chef from the College of DuPage under her toque, Hafeez opened her bakery-cafe in November 2012.
Awash in pastels, the shop is a treat for the senses and the tummy. What sets Gür apart from any other high-quality, from-scratch, small-batch, preservative-free bakery are the ethnic sweets it offers.
Gür is the Pakistani word for a type of pure, unrefined sugar (jaggary) often used in South Asian confections.
So in addition to cupcakes, coffee cakes, tortes, tarts, wedding cakes, muffins, scones, croissants, cookies, brownies, cream puffs, cream horns, cheese cakes, French macarons and breads all made from scratch daily, Hafeez offers baklava, barfi (roasted chickpea flour with butter, cream and sugar), jamun (fried dough dipped in sugar), jalabi (another fried dough dipped in sugar), ladoo (a confection made with chickpea flour and fried), ghajar halwa (carrot pudding), kheer (rice pudding), rasmalai (cheese dumplings), and more.
Hafeez also brought the New York croughnut craze to Chicago. Never heard of the croissant-doughnut hybrid? Check out Rubina in action on ABC7 discussing the Croughnut craze. You’ve got to get to her bakery pretty early to snag a Gürnut, as she calls them, because they sell out fast and they’re only available from Thursday through Sunday! You can also watch her making Maple Jamun on WGN9.
If this isn’t enough, Hafeez also offers savory samosas (turnovers filled with vegetables or meat served with sweet-sour tamarind sauce) and pakoras (deep-fried filled turnovers), and will be introducing sandwiches soon — Italian roast beef, tandoori chicken (roasted chicken with yogurt and spices), tuna kebabs and biryani (a rice dish with meat or veggies).
Not on the menu? Hafeez accommodates special orders with aplomb. When asked if muhallabia, a Middle Eastern rice pudding, was in her stable of desserts, she said with advance notice she could create just about anything. So don’t be shy, just ask.
So grab your laptop and head to Gür for coffee, chai, falooda (a dessert drink made with milk and rose essence), mango lassi (a dessert yogurt drink), or rose lemonade, and the sweet of your choice. I think you’ll fall in love with the bakery and the owner.
Gür Sweets Bakery
Address: 162 N. York Road, Elmhurst, IL 60126
Hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. Closed Mondays