Bay Ridge to bid adieu to Scandinavian staple, Nordic Delicacies

January 5, 2015 Meaghan McGoldrick
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One of the Ridge’s oldest ties to Scandinavian tradition will close its doors at the end of the month. The nearly 30-year-old Nordic Delicacies, nestled on Third Avenue, is going out of business, according to lifelong Ridgeite Arlene Rutuelo, who owns the business with mom Helena Bakke.

“Every beginning has an end,” said Rutuelo with a heavy heart. “You have to do what’s right for where you are in life, and this is best for all of us right now.”

The delicatessen – well known for its wide range of home-cooked and home-baked foods that bring a bit of the old country to the ever-changing nabe – has been popular amongst native Norwegians, other locally based Scandinavians and Third Avenue passersby alike.

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In fact, the eatery’s menu has paid homage to many of Rutuelo’s own grandmother’s recipes, many of which she learned to cook at her mother’s side. From Norwegian fare such as Salted Lamb (a holiday staple), house-made pork cold cuts and Fish Mousse to loveable classics like potato salad, butter cookies and old-fashioned Norwegian waffles, Nordic did it all – and did so with love.

Towards the end, Rutuelo said, staying afloat became a struggle.

“Doing business in New York is hard; that’s the reality,” said Rutuelo, “especially for small businesses like us. The economy is tough, between sales and regulations, and I think all businesses are feeling that.”

Her retirement, she said, couldn’t have come at a better time.

“Its good timing now to step back and relax,” the Ridgeite said of the New Year, stressing that, in recent years, the Nordic community has continued to dwindle. “We’ve been the last stronghold for the east coast for many, many years.”

Her involvement, however, goes way beyond Nordic’s kitchen doors.

“Our involvement in the Nordic community will still be strong,” Rutuelo said, naming the organization of the Norwegian Day Parade and continued work with the Norwegian Christian Home as two things that those at Nordic Delicacies will continue to lend their hands to.

Still, local residents like Victoria Hofmo are calling it a sad day for the Ridge.

“Of course, it’s a sad day for Bay Ridge,” she said. “The quality of their homemade food cannot be beat, nor its role as a gathering place. I’d like to thank the Bakke family for nourishing the community in so many ways for 29 years. Know you will be sorely missed.”

Nordic, located at 6909 Third Avenue, will remain open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Saturday, January 31.

“It’s sad,” Rutuelo said admittedly, “but it’s time, and I think I’m finally ready for it.”

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