It serves sweet and savory bites with international flair

La Dolcekca Bakery Café is easy to miss between the reflexology spa and nail salon on Montford Drive. But it’s tough to forget once you’ve been inside.

Vintage signs and images of Paris line the magenta walls. Crystal starburst chandeliers hang from the ceiling, and a life-sized pink phone booth brims with artificial flowers. Beside the coffee bar, a cabinet holds a deluge of mismatched teacups and saucers; at the entrance, a pastry case overflows with Dragon Fruit Cannolis, Raspberry-Pistachio Tres Leches, and Lemon Meringue Cheesecake. The menu beside the register lists a selection of sandwiches and brunch items as well.

La Dolcekca is a longtime dream for owner Karina Cooper, 42, who opened the bakery and café in August. Cooper grew up in the Dominican Republic, across from a bakery where she often watched the pastry chefs at work. “It was so close, we shared a patio,” she says. “I could always smell the sweets, and I wanted to try everything.”

“This is my first baby, but there’s more to come,” she says. “I’d love to have more locations in Charlotte. But I want to make sure that everything is right. That’s my weakness—everything has to be perfect.”

Karina Cooper

Cooper started baking specialty cakes 20 years ago, anything from elaborate wedding cakes to custom creations modeled after designer purses, superheroes, buckets of beer, and a red Cadillac. “The lady that ordered (the Cadillac) sent me a video, and her husband’s reaction brought me to tears,” she says. “Money can’t buy that reaction when he got that cake.”

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