Mod Betty has a sweet tooth and a sweet spot for vintage family owned bakeries, so it’s a bit of a super sugar rush to be able to share with you Haegele’s Bakery!
Opened in 1930 by German immigrant August Haegele, this small corner shop has been in continuous operation (3rd generation, with a 4th helping out) by the Haegele family since then.
Located in a primarily residential neighborhood in Mayfair, look for the kelly green awnings and corner entrance. While the space is small, the charm is large once you step inside, as it is (yay!) just like stepping back in time.
Sweet treats are lovingly lined up in the vintage art deco cases, and the air is filled with the aroma of freshly baked cookies, breads, donuts, cakes, jelly sticks and more.
Inside the door you'll see photos of the bakery throughout the decades, and looking at the photos, then turning to see what it looks like now, so little has changed, it is awesome.
While there are plenty of familiar faves to choose from, Mod Betty always looks for the things you can’t get anywhere else.
Cheryl Haegele was kind enough to explain to me what some of their local specialties are, however I made a complete ROOKIE MOVE!
You see, I kinda forgot that with a "we start fresh every day/week" real honest bakery, that their selection would be slim on Saturday (since they're closed Sunday and Monday) - so that is the reason you may see empty shelves in the background of some of these photos.
Their baked goods are so good, and so freshly baked that when they sell out, they sell out! This is also the reason that I was not able to photo some of the interesting items mentioned below. However, that just means that I will have to visit them again (twist my arm.)
Speaking of twists, they're well known for their jelly sticks, a twisted rope of jelly and french pastry, crunchy and chewy, glistening with sugar.
Trolley Buns - like coffee cake with cinnamon, these are stacked and cut into 5” bars. Some people think they look like trolley cars when lined up, but Cheryl and I both lean towards the fact that they would be the perfect thing to grab before hopping onto the trolley on the way to work, since the’re one of the first things to come out of the bakery ovens as they get up to temperature for the day.
Washington Cake - An old-fashioned Philadelphia recipe, the automat chain Horn and Hardart used to serve this dense spice cake, sweetened with molasses. Covered with vanilla or chocolate icing, Haegele's hands out squares of this to Halloween trick or treaters, ensuring that the younger generation gets a taste of days gone by. Swoon!
Fastnachts - Hand cut from double rise dough, these deep fried diamonds are dusted with sugar, and come from a family recipe that traveled over from Germany with August when he arrived in the US in 1927.
Regular Retro Roadmappers know that Mod Betty is all about Fastnacht day, and the line out the door at Haegele's that show I’m not alone! Here's the view from the front door when I visited this year:
Being a German style bakery they're also known for their German inspired treats - like Black Forest cake:
This hand braided cheese twist would be perfect to bring to a brunch!
And who can resist a colorful cookie?
Not only is Haegele's a bakery, but it is an integral part of the community. They know when there's a birth, a wedding, graduation, christening, or party happening. Folks catch them up on the neighborhood goings-on, sitting in one of the school chairs tucked under the front window. They celebrate and mourn along with their customers and lives become intertwined with joy and sorrow.
Open Tuesday - Saturday, using all high quality ingredients, made by hand, with love, for 80+ years, there’s always something different year 'round to choose from in the case. My visiting sister was delighted with this strawberry cheesecake pie I returned home with, and who can blame her? It was deelish!
Gooey butter cake, Irish potatoes, Easter cakes, fresh fruit pies, Christmas Pfeffernusse, New Years pretzels - there’s pretty much an excuse to come here at least once a month for the entire year.
There's going to be a well trod path from Retro Roadmap HQ to Haegele's from now on!