The far Upper East Side neighborhood dominated by New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center does not lack baked goods, what with Dunkin’ Donuts, Bagels & Co. and numerous coffee carts dispersed throughout the area.
Yet since a Chabad mikveh, or ritual bath, opened in 2005, the area has been attracting more Jewish institutions, such as a the Moise Safra JCC, about to open on Lexington and 84th, and the V-Note, a vegan restaurant with kosher certification on 80th and First Avenue.
So the arrival of the kosher Cake Land earlier this month on the Yorkville bakery scene makes sense despite the competition. The fourth in the Yosef Kosher Bakery chainlet but the first in this part of the city, the bakery sits on the corner of 77th and York and offers a lengthy menu of pies, bourekas, breakfast pastries, challahs and, of course, the cakes of its name from multi-layered creations dripping with chocolate to tangy lemon meringues topped with an artistic swirl. Everything is pareve.
While the neighborhood is attracting more Jewish institutions, it is still an extremely diverse part of the city because of the hospital, a behemoth of a health center that’s one of the top-ranked facilities in the country.
Cake Land’s clientele reflects this diversity, said owner Simon Davido.
“People come because it’s fresh; it’s done the right way and they like our stuff,” he said. “It’s a small bakery, but it’s a real one.”
Manager Muzhda Nazrieva said she sees a wide range of people walking in and out of the store and thinks many of them are not Jewish.
“I grew up in a neighborhood next to Borough Park,” said Robert Mashali, a returning customer who said that although he is not Jewish, he loves a kosher bakery because of where he spent his childhood.
But of course, Friday is the business’ biggest day, Nazrieva said, when the bakers are working at double time to produce “lots of challah.”
Last Friday, she recalled, they were scheduled to close at 5 and didn’t shut the doors until 7.
“People just kept coming in!” she said.
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