Pastries A Go Go owner passing the torch to new ownersLeft to right: Narit McCrary, Bob Light, and Adriana Park. Park and McCrary are the new owner of Pastries A Go Go in Decatur.
This story has been updated.
Decatur, GA — It was 1:20 p.m., 10 minutes before closing time at Pastries A Go Go, and customers were lined up in front of the pastry case, with customers coming in the door.
A typical afternoon rush, longtime owner Bob Light noted dryly after completing the last to-go order and locking the door on Thursday afternoon. Light, who will turn 64 in March, is selling the business to Adriana Park and Narit McCrary, both a generation younger and brimming with ambition.
Light didn’t call it a retirement. Not exactly.
“I don’t know that I’m retiring,” Light said. “I’m just not gonna be here anymore.”
Light carries the weight of 28 years of running a small business with him. He isn’t sentimental and despite having invested a lifetime into what has become a Decatur mainstay, he insists it won’t be hard to walk away. But he still cares about what happens to Pastries.
Weeks away from turning the business over to the new owners, he was busy behind the counter, refilling drinks, sorting out orders, pulling pastries out of the case, and wrapping them up. Park, former manager of D92 in Decatur, and McCrary, co-owner of Siam Thai, worked behind the counter with him and have been his understudy for weeks. They weren’t chosen on a whim. Light has wanted to sell for a while, but he wanted to find the right people to carry on the tradition of Pastries.
“I really want Pastries A Go Go to continue,” Light said. “I think we are the oldest restaurant in Decatur, and I just want somebody to be able to carry that on, keep it. Somebody who could really see the value in this place.”
McCrary and Park want the public to know that it will continue. They do see the value.
Light and his wife, Lek, opened Pastries across the street in 1995 and moved to the current location on West Ponce near the CVS about 18 years ago. His daughter, Sabrina, is turning 25. Birthday balloons and flowers sat next to the register as she rang up the last of Thursday’s orders. She grew up in Pastries. Light has seen his customers’ children grow up and get married. He’s seen regular customers get older and pass away. He now delivers food to customers too weak to make it into the restaurant.
Light notes, with some regret, that Decatur has changed. While he has a loyal base of customers who have been with him for years, many of the newer residents living in apartments don’t know Pastries exists. He hopes Park and McCrary can change that.
“I think they’ll bring in a younger crowd, a newer crowd,” Light said.
The restaurant will keep the same things that made it a local favorite. Everything the restaurant’s loyal customers like — the chicken salad, the biscuits, and sweet tea — will remain, the new owners said. There will also be some additions. Park said the space is due for a renovation, and she intends to apply for a license to sell alcohol, meaning mimosas will soon be on the menu.
Light said he and the new owners “vibe with each other,” and he was looking for owners who had “personality, youth.”
Park and McCrary say they agree with Light about what’s most important about Pastries.
“I think when we initially had our first conversation, and he was aware of how special I thought this place was, I think that’s what made him sure,” Park said.
She also baked him cookies, which didn’t hurt her chances.
Park said Light and his wife have taken her and McCrary under their wings, teaching her all the recipes while sharing secrets about their ingredients and suppliers.
“Oh yes, we spend a lot of time together, I jokingly call him dad all the time,” Park said. “I call Lek mom because it’s easier to explain to people.”
McCrary called the restaurant a “good opportunity.” He’s already brought in a new chef from the Philippines, Rodil, who is bringing donuts to the menu. He’s keeping an open mind about what people will and won’t embrace.
“If they like it, we keep it,” McCrary said. “If they don’t, we change.”
Some customers were taken aback by the news that ownership was changing hands. One of the longest-employed servers has departed, which Light said is something that comes with any change.
One customer, Scotty, left Pastries on Thursday holding a paper sack full of food and was surprised when a reporter told him about the new owners. Like many of the people standing in line before closing, he’s a regular.
“I hope they continue what they’re doing,” Scotty said.
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