January 22, 2018

Philadelphia Bakeries: More Delicious By The Dozen

A Guide To The Region's Top Makers Of Bread, Buns, Cakes & Pastries

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Famed for its delicious pound cake, Stock’s Bakery also serves butter cake, cookies, donuts, pies and other sweets. Photo by J. Varney for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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A Reading Terminal Market gem, Beiler’s Doughnuts serves more than 40 flavors of freshly-made, hand-rolled donuts. Photo by J. Varney for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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The old-school Termini Bros bakery feeds fans its famous sweets—cakes, cookies, biscotti and, of course, cannoli. Photo by J. Varney for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Philadelphia, a city of neighborhoods, is also a city of neighborhood bakeries. Cannoli from the 9th Street Italian Market’s Isgro’s and Termini Brothers, tomato pie from Manayunk’s Marchiano’s Bakery and pound cake from Port Richmond’s Stock’s Bakery are just some of the crumbs of Philly’s culinary makeup. Today, the city’s blocks also burst with modern French patisseries and boulangeries (J’aime French Bakery, Machine Shop), specialized bakeries (Dottie’s Donuts, ICI Macarons and Café and gluten- and allergen-free specialist Sweet Freedom Bakery) and artisans with modern ideas about heritage ingredients (High Street on Market, Lost Bread Co.). Here are some of the city’s best-loved bakers of doughy (and/or flaky) delights:

New Generation Bakeries:

  • Cake Life – The brainchild of two college best friends who appeared on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, this Fishtown store changes its menu seasonally. Look for coconut cake with a cream cheese frosting and the Phat Elvis, chocolate cake with peanut butter buttercream and banana flambé. 1306 Frankford Avenue, (215) 278-2580, cakelifebakeshop.com
  • Fikira Bakery – Infused with radical politics, this by-order-only operation delivers its wares by subscription and by bicycle and teaches community workshops regularly. The changing menu might feature peanut butter and jelly swirl bread, Turkish milk loaf with sesame seed and nigella, and bialys. (267) 304-3855, fikiraphilly.com
  • Flying Monkey Bakery – Dessert doesn’t get more fun than at this stand in the Reading Terminal Market. Visitors seek out the signature Pummple Cake (apple and pumpkin pies baked into a layer cake), marshmallow treats studded with Oreos and whoopie pies in dozens of flavors. 12th & Filbert Streets, (215) 928-0340, flyingmonkeyphilly.com
  • High Street on Market – This artisan-driven, full-service restaurant in Old City commands deserved attention for its house-baked breads and pastries. Heirloom grain bread, roasted potato bread, Pennsylvania-grown whole wheat bread, red-eye Danish and bagels can be enjoyed as part of a meal or taken to go. 308 Market Street, (215) 625-0988, highstreetonmarket.com
  • Hungry Pigeon – With a baker as co-owner, the all-day gem in Queen Village puts a special emphasis on leavened, eat-in treats. In addition to stellar breads used in sandwiches and dishes, highlights include the banana bread sticky bun, buttery biscuits and English muffins. 743 S. 4th Street, (215) 278-2736, hungrypigeon.com
  • The Kettle Black – A French-inspired bakery and cafe brings the bready goods to Northern Liberties. The loaf and pastry selection varies, but usually includes baguettes, croissants and bagels. 631 N. 2nd Street, thekettleblackphilly.com
  • Lost Bread Co. – Alex Bois, High Street on Market’s former head baker, commits his love of flour to a Kensington wholesale operation with occasional pop-ups and collaborations. The inventive pretzels, burger buns and other goodies showcase whole and local grains wherever possible. 1313 N. Howard Street, (215) 739-2904, lostbreadco.com
  • Machine Shop Boulangerie – Katie Lynch and Emily Riddell, two bakers with French culinary backgrounds work out of an old tech school in South Philly to supply breakfast pastries and naturally fermented breads to local coffee shops such as Rally, Menagerie and United by Blue—and to tenants of the Bok Building. Customers can also find the Viennoiserie at bake sales announced on social media. Bok Building, 1901 S. 9th Street, (856) 434-2352, machineshopphilly.com
  • Sweet Nectar Dessert Kitchen – Robin Broughton-Smith, Jay-Z’s former accountant, opened her dream bakery in Fairmount and keeps the focus on simple, homey treats. In addition to sweet potato cheesecake, red velvet cupcakes and orange creamsicle cookies, she also offers BYOB cupcake decorating parties for adults and cupcake decorating parties for kids. 547 N. 20th Street, (267) 318-7143, sweetnectardk.com
  • Walnut Street Café – With a lauded pastry chef Melissa Weller at the oven, University City’s all-day restaurant does not disappoint in when it comes to baked goods. The changing offerings could include kouign-amann, scones, babka and croissants for breakfast and coffee breaks, plus slab pies and cake for dessert. 2929 Walnut Street, (215) 867-8067, walnutstreetcafe.com
  • Whipped Bakeshop – Fishtown’s cupcake emporium combines elegant decoration with accessible flavors. Couples swear by the fondant wedding cakes, while daily customers scoop up “sasquatch” brownies topped with Belgian ganache and caramel or slices of gooey Philadelphia butter cake. 636 Belgrade Street, (215) 598-5449, whippedbakeshop.com

Specialists:

  • Carrot Cake Man – A Philly legend, Vernon Wilkins bakes up coveted carrot cake cupcakes. The trick is to catch them—his mobile operation can be found on SEPTA trolleys in and around West Philadelphia.
  • Dottie’s Donuts – The answer to vegan prayers can be found in two storefronts, in West Philadelphia and Queen Village. The pumpkin pecan, Boston cream and cookie dough Oreo donuts made without dairy or eggs—and will win over any eater. 4529 Springfield Avenue, (215) 662-0379; 509 S. 6th Street, @dottiesdonutsphl
  • ICI Macarons and Cafe – Old City’s petite café offers other French pastry, but the rainbow of delicate macarons truly brings the wow factor. The 27 flavors delight with combinations such as sour cherry hibiscus and maple pecan. 230 Arch Street, (215) 608-8938, @icimacarons
  • Knead Bagels – This Center City bakery/deli is known for intriguing flavors such as black sesame, fennel and sea salt and lavender. Add the long list of whimsical spreads and fillings and the mix and match possibilities are endless. 725 Walnut Street, (267) 519-9920, kneadbagels.com
  • Magpie Artisan Pie Boutique – A laser focus on what it does best makes the South Street shop a force. Seasonally changing, always-satisfying pies both sweet and savory can be ordered by the slice or as a whole. 1622 South Street, (267) 519-2904, iluvmagpie.com
  • Market Day Canelé – Before this niche bakery started up its main product—crisp and creamy French pastry—were scarce in Philly. Now fans clamber to area farmer’s markets and specialty shops to find them. marketdaycanele.com
  • Philly Style Bagels – Bringing an artisan sensibility to Jewish bread making, Fishtown’s bagel authority ferments and boils their dough in small batches. At the storefront, eaters indulge in sandwiches—including Bon Appétit’s sandwich of the year—spreads and bagels by the dozen. 1451 E. Columbia Avenue, phillystylebagels.com
  • Spread Bagelry – The region’s first Montreal-style bagel shop bakes its goods in a wood-fired brick oven for a crispy, slightly sweet and smoky result. Both locations are open all day for breakfast, brunch and lunch, serving bagel sandwiches, pizza bagels and even bagel burgers and hot dogs. 262 S. 20th Street, (215) 545-0626; 3602 Chestnut Street, (215) 222-0283, spreadbagelry.com
  • Stargazy – Chef Sam Jacobson commits his talents to British pies (steak and kidney; Cornish pasties; mince) at his cozy South Philly nook. The menu changes and local chefs offer limited-time collaborations but the complimentary hot tea and crowds (arrive early for the best selection) stay constant. 1838 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 309-2761, @stargazyphilly
  • Sweet Freedom Bakery – Eaters with allergies never have to miss out, with thoughtfully prepared gluten-, nut-, dairy-, casein-, egg-, soy-, corn- and refined sugar-free cookies, cakes and other treats. For many, the cookie sandwiches, magic bars and cider donuts become a (guilt-free) habit. 1424 South Street, (215) 545-1899; 1039 W. Lancaster Avenue, Bryn Mawr, (610) 527-7323, sweetfreedombakery.com
  • Tartes – A petite pink shop across the street from the Betsy Ross House serves homey to haute treats from a walk-up window. Most days’ menus include at least a half dozen seasonal tarts (dark chocolate hazelnut, blueberry lemon, ginger crème brûlée) along with brownies, cakes and cookies (oatmeal raisin, snickerdoodle, peanut butter). 212 Arch Street, (215) 625-2510

Classic French:

  • Artisan Boulanger Patissier – For two decades, André Chin and Amanda Eap have has turned out impeccable French baked goods in East Passyunk. Baguettes, croissants, mousse cakes and charlottes cover both the boulanger and patisserie sides of the equation. 1218 Mifflin Street, (215) 271-4688.
  • Delice et Chocolat – French brothers Joseph and Antoine Amrani back an ambitious Ardmore patisserie that serves both breakfast and lunch in addition to coffee drinks and a full range of sweets and treats. The glass displays showcase chocolates, macarons, operas and much more. 7 Station Avenue, Ardmore, (610) 649-7001, delicechocolat.com
  • J’Aime French Bakery – Midtown Village’s pristine newcomer is an ode to all things flaky, covering the bases with bread, Viennoiserie, crepes and pastry. The sunny, modern setting makes the perfect spot to enjoy a coffee (or ultra-rich cocoa) and an éclair. 212 S. 12th Street, (267) 928-3172, jaimefrenchbakery.com
  • Le Petit Mitron – Patrick and Isabelle Rurange have long operated Narberth’s favorite meeting spot, dishing up French pastry, coffee, tea and charm to spare. The expansive selection covers madeleines, napoleons, croissants and meringues, plus much more. 207 Haverford Avenue, Narberth, (484) 562-0500, lepetitmitronpa.com
  • Miel Patisserie – Sweet artistry lives at this elegant Rittenhouse pastry shop. Patrons choose from citrons, frasiers, palmiers and all manner of tarts and bars. 204 S. 17th Street, (215) 731-9191, mielpatisserie.com

Italian Treats:

  • Cacia’s – A fourth-generation, deep South Philly institution fuels Philadelphia with Italian staples such as hoagie rolls, tomato pie and cannoli. (Additional locations in New Jersey.) 1526 Ritner Street, (215) 334-1340, caciabakery.com
  • Conshohocken Italian Bakery – To accommodate ever-growing demand, Conshohocken’s bread specialist has expanded over the years into a block-long facility. Yet the attention to detail in the rolls, tomato pies and holiday breads never changes. 79-83 Jones Street, Conshohocken, (610) 825-9334, conshybakery.com
  • Isgro’s – This pasticceria near the 9th Street Italian Market has more than a century of baking. On offer: Italian sweets befitting any major holiday and famously luscious cannoli in many flavors.1009 Christian Street, (215) 923-3092, bestcannoli.com
  • Marchiano’s Bakery – Since 1984, a Manayunk rowhouse has nourished lovers of Italian bread. In addition to the tomato pie and oreganata (a stuffed roll akin to stromboli), the menu lists 13 different kinds of filled breads. 4653 Umbria Street, (215) 483-8585, marchianosbakery.com
  • Potito’s – The South Philly purveyor of Italian pastry such as sfogliatella and pine nut cookies scores big in the cannoli category. Yet customers also stop in for decidedly American donuts and layer cakes. 1614 W. Ritner Street, (215) 900-8230, potitobakery.com
  • Sarcone’s – It’s impossible to eat cheesesteaks and hoagies in Philly without encountering Sarcone’s rolls. In business for a century, the widely admired Bella Vista bakery sells them to retail customers, along with brick oven tomato pies, pizzas, pizelles and pepperoni bread. 758 S. 9th Street, (215) 922-0445, sarconesbakery.com
  • Termini Brothers – With several locations and a fanatic fan base, this family-owned bakery has spread cannoli far and wide. Yet the classic biscotti, pignoli and amaretti deserve equal attention. 1523 S. 8th Street, (215) 334-1816, 1538 Packer Avenue, (215) 336-1001, 12th & Filbert Streets, (215) 629-1790, 1701 JFK Boulevard, (215) 575-0504, termini.com
  • Varallo Brothers – Two brothers apprenticed as teenagers in Italy before opening their own store in 1981. As one of the first to sell zuccotto, Santa Honore and zuppa inglese in Philly, this classic bakery has helped shape local palates. 1639 S. 10th Street, (215) 952-0367, varallobrothersbakery.com

Around the Globe:

  • Beiler’s – An Amish family with a knack for doughnuts opened in the Reading Terminal Market in the 1980s, selling sweet dough rounds in traditional flavors, as well as varieties like maple bacon and the Nutella crème. Since then, the enterprise has expanded to a second Philadelphia location in University City. 351 N. 12th Street, (267) 318-7480; 3900 Chestnut Street, (215) 921-5874, beilersdoughnuts.com
  • Essen Bakery – Drawing on Jewish traditions, visionary baker Tova duPlessis takes the familiar and reinvents it. Her adorable little Passyunk bakery and cafe offers chocolate halva babka, za’atar challah and honey cake with beer and apples. 1437 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 271-2299, essenbakery.com
  • Haegele’s – German families in Mayfair have for generations turned to this authentic sweet shop. On a given day there might be apfelkuchen, kugelhopf and sachertorte, but it’s also the place to go for holiday confections like fastnachts, stolen and strudel. 4164 Barnett Street, (215) 624-0117, haegelesbakery.com
  • Kaplan’s New Model Bakery – Sating the need for fresh-baked challah and rye, this certified kosher Jewish bread shop has served Northern Liberties for a century. Also available: hamentashen, rugalach, bagels and knishes. 901 N. 3rd Street, (215) 627-5288, kaplansnewmodelbakery.com
  • La Caleñita Bakery Café – The place for Colombian fare stays open all day. Among the tempting options at the North Philly eatery: pan de queso, pastel de maiz and orange cake. 5034 N. 5th Street, (215) 455-6808, lacaleñitabakery.com
  • Manakeesh – University City houses the city’s preeminent Lebanese bakery and cafe. The house specialty baklava alone merits a trip, but the other sweets, such as semolina cake with almonds and shredded fried dough with cream and syrup, will never disappoint. 4420 Walnut Street, (215) 921-2135, manakeeshcafe.com
  • Mayflower Bakery – Chinatown’s corner spot for Hong Kong-style pastry offers great value. A milk tea or coffee, along with buns stuffed with taro, pineapple or sesame paste make an inexpensive and delicious snack. 1008 Race Street, (215) 629-5668

Philly Classics:

  • Bakery House – The Main Line’s go-to for dessert keeps to a timeless list of cheesecakes, fruit pies and tube cakes. But the Bryn Mawr bakery clearly embraces the current moment with some gluten-free and vegan options. 604 W. Lancaster Avenue, Bryn Mawr, (610) 525-4139, thebakeryhouse.net
  • Denise’s Bakery – After a fire closed her 25-year-old North Philly homage to sugar, eggs and flour, owner Denise Gause did what any strong baker would do: She rebuilt it. Today, lines once again form out the door and the phone rings off the hook for her pound cake, pies, brownies, doughnuts, cookies and wedding cakes. 2916 N. 22nd Street, (215) 225-5425, cakesbydenises.com
  • Four Worlds Bakery – West Philly’s bread shop set the standard for artisan product when it opened in 2006. Now, with a dedicated customer base addicted to the challahs, sourdough loaves and croissants, there’s no going back. 4634 Woodland Avenue, (215) 967-1458, fourworldsbakery.com
  • Le Bus – So named for its original location inside a converted school bus, David Braverman’s bakery supplies restaurants across the region. Two retail locations (one is the King of Prussia outlet) make the baguettes, boules, chocolate chip cookies, challah, croissants and rolls available to households. 129 S. 18th Street, (215) 569-8299; 479 Shoemaker Road, King of Prussia, (610) 337-1444, lebusbakery.com
  • Metropolitan Bakery – An early progenitor of the buy and eat local movement, this now-ubiquitous bakery has won national accolades. The daily output usually includes staples like crusty cracked wheat and miche loaves, plus sweets spanning breakfast pastry to after-dinner tarts. 4013 Walnut Street, (215) 222-1492; 262 S. 19th Street, (215) 545-6655; Reading Terminal Market, 12th & Filbert Streets, (215) 829-9020, metropolitanbakery.com
  • The Night Kitchen Bakery – Run by a couple with a commitment to community and sustainability, the Chestnut Hill favorite maintains a wide-ranging menu. Specialties to try: sticky buns, award-winning brownies and lemon curd cake. 7725 Germantown Avenue, (215) 248-9235, nightkitchenbakery.com
  • Stock’s Bakery – Port Richmond’s unassuming storefront may be best known for the pound cakes that draw lines out the door during holidays. Even so, the donuts and butter cookies should not be missed. 2614 E. Lehigh Avenue, (215) 634-7344
  • Sweet Jazmines Bakery – Chef Kimberly Davis Cuthbert’s beloved bakeshop can now claim nearly two decades of success. The Berwyn kitchen turns out pure decadence like pralines and cream cheesecake and sweet potato cake with caramel buttercream. 15 Bridge Avenue, Berwyn, (610) 644-1868, sweetjazmines.com
  • Swiss Haus – A long-running Center City source for pan-European cakes and pastry covers a wide swath of territory. Pound cake and elephant ears share case space with marjolaines and Oreo-stuffed cupcakes. 35 S. 19th Street, (215) 563-0759, 313 Market Street, (267) 457-3262, swisshausbakery.com
  • Tiffany’s Bakery – This forty-plus year-old Center City family bakery has two locations, one inside Jefferson Station and another in Suburban Station. Tiffany’s strawberry shortcake is legendary, and as is their specialty cake design, cookie cakes, cupcakes, and more. Jefferson Station, 10th & Filbert Streets; Suburban Station, 15th & Market Streets, (844) CAKE-DAY, tiffanysbakeryphilly.com

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