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Penn State Alum Hopes To Make Her Mark With New Crust & Crumb Cafe

After spending 15 years as an engineer, Penn State graduate Amber Winkler felt she needed a career change.

She quickly entered the world of culinary arts and founded Crust & Crumb Cafe, a new coffee shop and artisan bakery on Beaver Ave.

Winkler has worked in culinary arts for years now, starting her career as a general manager in Pittsburgh. After she stayed in that role for a year, she realized that she wanted to be a part of both sides of a restaurant.

A graduate of the American Academy of Culinary Arts, Winkler worked tirelessly full time to get her associate’s degree in classical French cuisine and a pastry certification, all while working across the Pittsburgh food scene.

With more experience under her belt, Winkler wanted to open her own business.

“At the very beginning of this, it wasn’t my intention to open a cafe,” Winkler said. “It was actually my intention to open a steakhouse.”

Winkler added that the plans to open a steakhouse completely fell through, causing her to extend her search for property in what was originally the DuBois area. Although she was ready to give up, she eventually found what would become Crust & Crumb.

“I though if I couldn’t do the steakhouse, then I could do a cafe that would incorporate my pastry skills and makes things fresh,” Winkler said. “Every other cafe that I saw was either really coffee focused or really baking focused, and I think we’re a hybrid of both.”

Along with making pastries fresh every day, Crust & Crumb partnered up with Commonplace Coffee in Pittsburgh to get its coffee beans delivered weekly. Commonplace has helped Winkler in her journey into the coffee world.

“I have a culinary background, not a coffee background,” Winkler said. “So the fact that they were able to step in and educate us on the coffee and the equipment, we’ve really built a wonderful relationship with them.”

While Crust & Crumb works with Commonplace in Pittsburgh, it goes above and beyond when it comes to the quality of ingredients and time and effort spent on products.

From importing chocolate from France and Belgium to working with a third-generation creamery to source butter, attention to detail is key for Winkler.

“You’re not going to come in here and find the same cheesecakes every day, or the same breads every day, or the same muffins every day,” Winkler said. “So it’s a little bit different of a concept, but that’s what we’re offering that’s different: the element of surprise when you come in and see what we’re doing that day or seasonally.”

Crust & Crumb’s slogan is “Sip, savor, visit.” Its location and mission make it a must-try for coffee and pastry lovers alike.

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About the Author

William Humphrey

I am a junior digital print journalism major from Erie, PA.

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