ELIZABETHTOWN, NC (WECT) - Thomas and Doris Burney operated a family bakery in Lumberton for years. One day, a total stranger walked in and handed them a special recipe for fried croissants. Little did the couple know that, down the road, that man's recipe would serve as one of the perfect ingredients to their biggest-selling item.
In 2011, the Burneys opened a bakery inside of the building that houses a new farmer's market in Elizabethtown, and the family brought the fried croissant recipe with them.
Burney's Sweets and More sells the usual: cakes, pies, pastries, doughnuts and even lunchtime meals. But for many area residents, a day isn't complete without a Burney's deep fried croissant.
"I like doughnuts, but once I tried the fried croissants, they seem to have a lighter and fluffier taste," said Shelia Link, who since eating at Burney's has vowed to never return to eating plain doughnuts.
At about 3 o'clock each morning, store employees Teresa McNeill and Juanita Britt begin working to prepare doughnuts and croissants the "old-fashioned" way: fried in hot vegetable oil.
"It is all done by hand," said Thomas Burney. "It is completely different because croissants are round, so it will roll on you. You cannot take a croissant and cook it like a doughnut. You have got to keep watch over them all of the time."
The Burneys introduced the fried croissant when they opened in November, and now, they say sales of the croissants far outnumber the sale of doughnuts.
Business is only expected to improve as more people learn about the farmer's market.
Fresh produce will begin being offered at the marker in the spring, and a regular arts and crafts show will be held there as well.
Burney's Sweets and More are open from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
To this day, the Burneys are not sure of the man's name who brought them the unique recipe.