Amidst the never ending strip centers in Buckhead, there sits a charming bakery and deli named Henri’s. It’s your basic counter deli on one side and cases upon cases of baked treats on the other. It may seem unnecessary to celebrate such a simple concept but traditional, family owned delis and bakeries can be few and far between these days. I was over the moon when my parents took me here over the weekend…and that a place like this still exists in the neighborhood.
Henri’s Bakery was founded in 1929 by Henri Fiscus, a chef and native of France. His Southern adaptations of European delicacies became an instant hit and a permanent standard for every item created by the Henri’s bakers today. Henri’s Bakery has been a Buckhead fixture since locating to its current home on Irby Avenue in 1969. Its cheese straws are required eating for exclusive Buckhead cocktail parties, and cakes produced there have graced countless celebrations. In the bakery’s infancy, Henri Fiscus remained true to his baking roots—sandwiches on the in-house bread were added when the baking business was slow. The wax-paper wrapped or custom made lunchtime staples are now a mainstay of their menu. Henri’s is still a family operated business with Madeline Leonard, the oldest of Henri Fiscus’s grand children, running the show.
The mystery of this eatery’s longevity subsides when you walk through the doors…it smells of fresh baked bread, sugar from the bakery, and friendly staff greet you at the counter. It is no surprise that the place is packed with locals. Families, ladies lunching, teenagers are all standing patiently in line at the deli waiting to order sandwiches. As for choices, Henri’s has anything and everything you could want on a sandwich from Pastrami to chicken salad, anyway you want it. I opted for something I’ve never seen before- Salmon dill salad on french bread. Even with a huge chalkboard menu and making each sandwich individually, the service was excellent and fast.
We took our perfectly wrapped sandwiches (in old school wax paper) to our cafe table and chowed down. The salmon dill salad was perfect. Basically like tuna salad but with salmon, dill, little bit of celery, not too much mayo, and a little lemon, topped with lettuce and tomato, served on fresh french bread.
Mom had chicken salad on wheat which was also tasty but a little too much relish for me; Boz had pastrami on rye with cheese and pickles that looked awesome. It reminded me of another favorite sandwich shop- Gilchrist Drug in Mountain Brook Village. Most of my family is from Birmingham, Alabama and we all frequented their lunch counter as kids.
We of course ended lunch with a few laps around the bakery before deciding on a couple of cookies- Heath bar and Peanut Butter. They were so much lighter than I expected, but still had lots of flavor..I split the peanut butter with mom and it was not oily or dense like some PB cookies can be. I could’ve definitely eaten one on my own…next time.
If you need a break from the mall food court or don’t have time for a sit down lunch, then head to Henri’s!