Walls' Bake Shop
1336 Broadway Hewlett, NY 516-374-3771
Jews refer to the period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur as the Days of Awe, a time of introspection and repentance. At Walls’ Bake Shop, it’s a time of complete madness. “We are an old-fashioned Jewish bakery,” said owner Mark Schechner, “and this is our busiest time of year.”
Honey cake, honey-fruit-nut cake, Polish nut cake (with filberts, cashews and pecans), marble cake, apple-marble cake, seven-layer cake, checkerboard cake, taiglach — these traditional confections barely have time to sit on the shelves. “Every item we make is somebody’s favorite,” Schechner said.
The favorite among favorites is the Philly fluff loaf, a refined pound cake showered with powdered sugar whose distinctive texture comes, in part, from cream cheese. Schechner’s own favorite is his chocolate babka, no nuts. (We were equally impressed with the cinnamon-raisin-nut babka.)
Schechner and his father, Stanley, have owned Walls’ since 1980. (The bakery was opened, he said, in 1951 by the Waldstreicher family.) Not much has changed in six decades. Nor have prices kept up with inflation: most of the loaf cakes cost well under $10. Customers are militantly loyal, Schechner says, driving from all over the metropolitan area to get their fix or, if they’re farther away, incurring shipping costs. (Price for messengering a cake into Manhattan: $30.)
Annette and Malcolm Weinberg were Wall’s customers for 45 years until they moved to upstate Rochester more than a decade ago. Back in town to visit family for the High Holy Days, they stopped in to wish Schechner a happy new year. “We love it in Rochester,” Malcolm said, “except that there are no good bakeries.”
Recently, a customer’s grandson got bar-mitzvahed in Milwaukee (“Or was that Michigan?” Schechner wondered) and Walls’ dispatched 350 black-and-white cookies. “They were the hit of the reception,” Schechner said, proudly.
-- ERICA MARCUS (Newsday / Oct. 6, 2011)
Mark Schechner, top right, and his father, Stanley, not pictured, have owned Walls' Bake Shop in Hewlett since 1980. (Oct. 4, 2011)