The Multi-Cultural Pastry Shops of New York City
By Aaron Arizpe
Many of the most enduring bakeries of New York City reflect the Eurocentric immigration patterns of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Italian stalwart Veniero’s on East 11th Street has been making cheesecakes, cannoli, and pignoli cookies since 1894. Orwashers on the Upper East Side has been crafting loaves of eastern European-style breads like challah and pumpernickel since 1916.
In the last several years, though, we’ve seen an influx of new bakeries that better reflect the multicultural melting pot that is New York City. Now we have Israeli bakeries, Portuguese, Korean, Australian… the list goes on.
Take for instance the recently-opened Michaeli Bakery. Adir Michaeli's place is simultaneously a reminder of the Jewish communities that traditionally called the Lower East Side home, and an attempt to expose New Yorkers to an entirely new range of pastries from the Middle East. There are Moroccan "sfeni" doughnuts; feta-stuffed "burkitas"; not to mention the best babka in the city.
Originally founded in Sydney, the extremely popular Bourke Street Bakery made its way stateside this year, opening in the popular NoMad neighborhood. They’ve brought classic Aussie treats like sausage rolls to town, as well as classic French pastries like croissants and pain au chocolat.
Elsewhere around the city, one can now sample Danish pastries at Ole & Steen, Taiwanese specialties at Brooklyn’s Win Son Bakery, Spanish classics at José Andrés’ Pasteles in Hudson Yards, or guava “pastelitos” (fruit-filled puff pastry) at Pilar Cuban Bakery in Clinton Hill. The possibilities right now are truly endless, and it’s going to be very interesting to watch and see how the bread and pastry landscape of New York continues to grow over the next few years.