The Best of King Cakes
One Picayune business will celebrate Mardi Gras for a second time this year.
The reason is because Paul’s Pastry Shop has been designated the Best of King Cake in Mississippi by the “Official Best in Destinations Across the Country” television program.
Tuesday, the iconic bakery will resemble a movie set as television crews travel to Pearl River County to capture king cake making at its finest.
According to the Official Best Of’s website, the program provides television and web viewers with the best places to visit in cities across America.
According to Paul’s Pastry owner Sherri Thigpen, not only is this the first best of king cake designation in the nation, but also the first time a Mississippi profile has been featured on the program.
The original bakery opened 44-years-ago by Thigpen’s parents, Shirley and Harry and was located on Main St.
“In 1972 we began making our version of king cakes,” Thigpen said. “Paul’s was the first home of original fruit and cream cheese fillings. We have our own trademarked dough that holds the fillings better than regular Danish dough.”
Since the 1970’s, Thigpen said the bakery has evolved and now carries the largest selection of king cakes in the United States. The sweet treats are baked and shipped nationwide year round and decorated corresponding to themes including holidays, birthdays, thank-yous and football.
“A two-minute program about our shop will be included with their program and available for viewing on their website at the end of this year,” Thigpen said. “We will hold this designation for the next three years.”
The film crews will arrive Tuesday afternoon and Thigpen will have the shop decorated for Mardi Gras. She will bring in her morning baking crews to create king cakes for the three-hour film shoot.
“The news is still sinking in,” Thigpen said. “I’m getting everything planned and am really excited. All thanks goes to my employees who take the time to make a great product and to our customers for keeping us in business for 44 years. Without them I don’t matter.”
Serita Miller has been a Paul’s Pastry employee for more than 21 years and said it has been a positive learning experience for her. Miller is currently the front-end manager but has worn a variety of hats since her career began, including mixing cake batter, icing confections, baking and acting as decorator.
“It’s a friendly atmosphere to work, it’s like we’re one big team,” Miller said. “Sherri has been great to work with. Our king cakes are the best around. A lot of people think of Paul’s when they hear the words king cake.”
Dede Schaumburg and Edie Kelley of Madison Wisconsin have been friends for more than 50 years and visit Picayune and Paul’s Pastry at least three times a month.
“I’ve been coming here since 1990,” Schaumburg said. “I remember the tiny bakery. I really like all their sweets, but their strawberry cream cheese king cake and éclairs are my favorite.”
Kelley’s first visit was in 2003 and she tasted her first king cake at Paul’s.
“It was wonderful and left me wanting more,” Kelley said. “I really like the pecan king cake.”
To celebrate the occasion, Thigpen is hosting “Customer Appreciation Day – Mardi Gras in November!”
The event will last from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thigpen urges the public to attend and dress in their favorite Mardi Gras attire.
Guests will also meet 2015’s Krewe of Pearl king and queen, Picayune Mayor Ed Pinero, Jr. and wife Christie.
During the celebration, Thigpen is offering bakery specials including half price Mardi Gras king cakes, two dozen Mardi Gras butter crunch for $5.99, coffee or soft drink and king cake slice for $1.99 and buy one get one half price specialty coffees and other drinks.
The bakery is located at 1 Sycamore Rd., Suite A.
Paul’s is open Monday through Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. The bakery is closed on Sundays.
Learn more about Paul’s at www.paulspastry.com and through Facebook at Paul’s Pastry Shop.
Learn more about “The Official Best of Destinations Across the Country” at www.officialbestof.com.