Tag Archives: bakery

Classic treats are like ‘Buttah’

| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photos by Kelly Marie Mancuso


For a unique twist on classic desserts, check out Buttah bakery, located a short walk from the DeKalb Avenue L train station at 377 Onderdonk Ave., between Stockholm and Stanhope streets, in Ridgewood.

First opened in December, Buttah is the brainchild of local sisters and Christ the King High School alums Kristen and Stacey Viola.

The Viola sisters were born and raised in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Stacey handles the many business and financial aspects of the bakery, while her sister Kristen is busy concocting recipes and desserts in the kitchen.

Kristen first discovered her passion for baking back in high school during weekends spent at her grandmother’s side learning how to make cherished family recipes.
“I come from a family of big bakers,” she said.

Kristen’s hobby eventually evolved into a successful at-home business. After nearly four years, she decided to take her passion for baking to the next level and began the process of opening up a brick-and-mortar bake shop.

“It was time to just do it,” she said.

Buttah is housed within a bright and airy storefront directly across the street from St. Aloysius Church. The brushed steel countertops and glossy white subway tile-lined walls give the shop a vintage 1950s look. Large silver wire whisk pendant lamps and an ornate doorbell that reads, “Press for Cake” create a fun, playful vibe.

Electric lilac chairs and marble cafe tables give a pop of color to the storefront windows. Cupcakes are artfully arranged on a collection of vintage jadeite and pastel milk glass cake plates. A bold pink neon sign with the shop’s logo, crafted locally by Robbie Ingui of Artistic Neon in Ridgewood, illuminates the wall behind the counter.


Kristen’s Italian-American heritage inspired many of the delicious offerings at Buttah, including the Sesame Cookies ($1.75), which are based on her Aunt Mary’s recipe. “She’s been making them since we were kids,” Kristen said.

One of the most popular offerings at Buttah is the classic Charlotte Russe ($3). The New York City version of the dessert was sold in candy shops and luncheonettes during the 1940s and ‘50s.

“Customers either remember them and it brings back memories, or they have no idea what it is and want to try it,” Stacey said.

The Charlotte Russe at Buttah is true to the original, combining a rich yellow sponge cake base and jam swirl topped with fresh whipped cream and a whole Maraschino cherry. The dessert is served in a little scalloped paper cup and, according to Kristen, is to be eaten “like a push-pop.”

Other popular desserts include the pecan-encrusted red velvet cupcake ($3), coconut cream cupcake ($3) and the Brooklyn Blackout cupcake ($3), which is filled and topped with homemade chocolate pudding and coated in chocolate cake crumbs. The shop also takes special custom cake orders, and can render almost any cupcake flavor in cake form.

In addition to dessert, Buttah also features many breakfast and brunch items. Their savory bacon, cheddar and chive scones and blue cheese, honey and date scones are baked fresh daily. They also serve up buttery slices of crumb cake to hungry morning crowds.

Buttah uses fresh, local ingredients, such as 11385 Honey from Wilk Apiary in Glendale, in their baked goods. They also serve drip coffee from Irving Farm, freshly roasted upstate.

The Violas chose Ridgewood because the close-knit community reminded them of their own upbringing in Brooklyn.

“We found this neighborhood and it reminded us of what Williamsburg used to be like, with all of the families,” Kristen said.

Buttah will be one of 20 local food vendors featured in the upcoming “Taste of Ridgewood” tasting and charity event at the Ridgewood YMCA on April 23 at 6:30 p.m.

377 Onderdonk Ave., Ridgewood




Junior’s moving its Maspeth cheesecake baking operation to New Jersey

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Property Shark/Scott Bintner

Updated 4:43 p.m.


A slice of Queens is heading to New Jersey.

Junior’s, the famous Brooklyn cheesecake institution, is moving its baking operation from 58-42 Maurice Ave. in Maspeth to Burlington, New Jersey, according to the company.

“We can’t afford the real estate around here,” Alan Rosen, grandson of Harry Rosen, who founded the business in 1950, told Crain’s New York Business, which first reported the relocation.

Its new baking facility across the river also affords more space — 103,000 square feet compared to 20,000 square feet in Queens — and features more refrigeration, freezers and loading docks, according to Rosen.

Junior’s has been reportedly renting the Maspeth facility for the last 15 years to supply its four restaurants in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Connecticut, as well as its wholesale and mail-order businesses.

According to Rosen, by July its baking operations will be moved to its New Jersey facility. Up to 75 jobs could be affected by the move, the New York Times reported, but only about 15 employees are expected to come to the new place. Workers were told about the relocation in January following the decision to relocate, which Rosen said was made in late 2014.

The product quality won’t be affected, he said.

“Not one iota. I tested cheesecakes there on Monday with my grandfather looking down on me. [Our cheesecake] has not changed one bit in 64 years,” he told The Courier.

Some baking will continue in New York at its flagship location in Brooklyn, according to a Junior’s spokeswoman. Last year, there was talk of the cheesecake maker selling the 386 Flatbush Ave. building, but the owner decided to stay put.

Rumblings about Junior’s relocation of its Maspeth facility began in 2011 when the city was considering the Maspeth bypass plan — a truck route through an industrial part of the neighborhood. The plan converted the segment of Maurice Avenue where Junior’s factory is located from a two-way street to a one-way thoroughfare.

At a Community Board 5 meeting in June 2011, a lawyer for Junior’s stated that the Maspeth bypass plan was untenable due to delivery logistics, adding that the board was “forcing [Junior’s] to move to Jersey” if it had supported the Maspeth bypass. The board recommended the bypass plan’s approval in July, and the DOT implemented it in November of that year.

Rosen said the Maspeth bypass situation had no impact on Junior’s decision to move from the area.


Astoria bakery gets burglarized twice within one week: cops

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

In less than one week, a burglar targeted the same Astoria bakery twice, stealing nearly $2,000, authorities said.

The business, Parisi Bakery, at 30-17 Broadway, was first hit at 2:40 a.m. on Dec. 27. It was burglarized again at 12:40 a.m. on Jan. 1, according to police.

During both burglaries, the suspect broke into the bakery, went behind the counter and took money from the cash register. In total, $1,900 was taken, authorities said.

Police have released a video of the suspect.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.


Ridgewood bakery to celebrate 80th anniversary with original prices

| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Rudy's Bakery & Cafe

An iconic Ridgewood bakery will be celebrating its 80th birthday with some sweet old-fashioned prices.

Rudy’s Bakery and Café, located at 905 Seneca Ave., has been at the same spot in Ridgewood since 1934. And for its anniversary, which it’s celebrating on Oct. 25 from noon to 5 p.m., the bakery is going back to its original prices.

“We’re a traditional bakery and we cater to customers whose families have lived in this neighborhood for generations,” said Antoinette “Toni” Binanti, who has owned the establishment since 1980 when her family took over from previous owner Kurt Schlegelmilch. “We love our customers and we’re happy to provide them with the baked goods that they remember from childhood.”

Among the baked goods that will be available for the original pricing of 80 cents apiece will be miniature jelly donuts, Linzer tarts, Black Forest cake, cheese and cherry strudel and danishes. Along with the discounted prices, Rudy’s is hosting a German band and pumpkin decorating for children, among other activities.

rudy's 1

Rudy’s first started servicing Ridgewood in the heart of the Great Depression, when the neighborhood was home to a large community of German immigrants.

While it has continued to serve traditional German treats, such as Bienenstich and strudel, Rudy’s has grown its menu to start serving sweets like gelato and iced Nutella lattes.

“Though we have evolved with the times to offer new confections, we feel we’re part of a tradition here and we’re honored to play a role in the milestones of so many families with the cakes and other sweets that are part of their special occasions,” Binanti said.

The bakery’s anniversary celebration will coincide with Ridgewood’s Seneca Avenue Oktoberfest Stroll.

To learn more about Rudy’s visit, “rudysbakery” on Facebook or @rudyspastryshop on Twitter.


Sweet simplicity: A day in the life of an L.I.C. baker

| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Alexa Altman

Fighting against time, temperature and chemistry, Hans Baang pried open the oven door, examining the partially-baked macarons against the wash of chocolate-scented heat that flooded the tiny kitchen. Not too dry, not too fluffy. No cracks, no air bubbles — yet.

Macarons are temperamental, he said – and easily ruined.

“It’s not your regular cookie, it’s not your regular cake,” said Baang. “You have to do it a certain way.”

Baang ended a 15-year career as a banker to become a baker, whipping up treats for local sugar seekers at Long Island City bakery Little Oven.

While dishing out a multitude of decadent desserts, the shop is most renowned for its macarons – a French, meringue-based cookie crafted from a mixture of sugar syrup, egg whites, powdered sugar and almond flour and sandwiched together with flavored ganache, crème or jam.

The bakery was opened in March of 2011 by owner Anna-Marie Farrier. Baang, in tandem with shop manager Kyra, runs most of the store’s day-to-day business – everything from making desserts to running the register.

On a Thursday morning, inside the bakery’s kitchen, Baang prepared to make Little Oven’s dark chocolate macarons. As the sugar syrup reached a steady boil, Baang pulled already separated egg whites from the refrigerator. The KitchenAid mixer spun as Baang slowly poured the sugar syrup over the egg whites, creating a frothy, thick cream. Combining a pound of powdered sugar and pound of almond flour, Baang sifted 45 grams of cocoa powder over the mixture. He folded the cream into the dry ingredients, stirring the batter with 50 even strokes.

Baang piped half-dollar sized dollops of the macaron mixture along a wax-paper-lined cookie sheet as Felicia Carter radio wafted from his iPad into the sugary air. He popped the tray into the oven and smiled.

“Baking should be fun,” he said. “Whether you’re just starting out or doing it professionally, there should always be an element of fun.”

Baang lives just a 15-minute subway ride away from Little Oven in Woodside – a world apart from his homeland of the Philippines, where after a 15-year-long career as a banker, he swapped money for honey and became a professional pastry chef. His interest in baking began as a side business, making cookies in his spare time and selling them to friends and co-workers.

He moved to Seattle in 2006, switching coasts several years later to assist with the opening of Queens eatery Payag. Last year, Baang craved more out of his culinary career and became a full-time pastry chef, joining the staff at Little Oven.

Baang even blogs about his gastronomic adventures under the online pen name “The Sugar Hippie.”

Now most of the bakery’s items are created by Baang, reinvented from recipes he learned while in cooking school. Partial to simple desserts like tarts and pies, Baang enjoys experimenting with Earl Grey tea-infused madeleines and peach-cardamom flavored macarons.

Between checking the trays of dark chocolate macarons baking in the oven, Baang topped freshly made cupcakes with pale pink rose-buttercream icing, laced with rose extract and rose syrup.

Fourteen minutes had passed since the macarons went into the oven— the total time needed for them to rise and form properly. Cautiously, Bang removed the tray, setting it on a rack to cool. With one steady hand, he inspected a single cookie, removing it seamlessly from the wax paper.

“Perfect,” he said.