Leske’s still a household name
Let’s hear it for Leske’s.
The more-than-50-year-old family business with Scandinavian roots – now on its third set of owners – is keeping with both the times and tradition this holiday season. The Fifth Avenue bakery, opened in 1961 at its iconic 7612 Fifth Avenue storefront, has been upping the ante so that it can keep up with competitors, according to manager Harry Hawk.
“The big focus for the current owners is sustainability,” Hawk said. “In other words, the bakery surviving. We have to charge enough to make the payroll possible and so the people we employ are able to support their families, and we have to keep the historical nature of the bakery while continuing to innovate.”
Most recently, the bakery – known best for its famous black and white cookies (made with “fudge and love, not fondant”) – has ventured into limited-time-only donuts like the Father’s Day Beer Crème, and the seasonal Candy Cane Peppermint pastry.
“They’re very popular,” said Hawk, adding that, for this year’s New York City Food and Wine Festival, the team at Leske’s cooked up a limited-edition Absolut Raspberry Vodka and Raspberry Crème donut that had diners coming back for seconds and thirds.
“That was nice to see at a festival where there are a lot of Manhattan restaurants and not a lot of places from Brooklyn – certainly not a lot of places from Bay Ridge,” he explained. “In a sea of fancy foods, our donut was really a testament that, beyond Bay Ridge, these are quality baked goods.”
Reppin’ Bay Ridge ain’t bad either, he said.
“That’s where we are and that’s where we’re gonna stay,” said Hawk of the business’s home base on Fifth Avenue. “It’s what we are. It’s in our DNA.”
Fresh off its biggest season of the year (Christmas, of course), the team at Leske’s wants the world to know about its fresh breads and (now, bigger and better than ever) occasion cakes.
“Our baker can make up any kind of crazy cake you imagine,” the manager lauded.
Local residents and hungry eaters agree: Decades later and Leske’s is still a household name.
“It’s nice to know that we always have a home on Fifth Avenue,” said Hawk.
For more information on Leske’s, visit www.leskesbakery.com.
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