If you live in Northeast Philly and find yourself in need of a good rye bread or challah, or perhaps some rugelach or hamantaschen, or maybe you just have a hankering for some cookies, chances are you’d head over to Lipkin’s Bakery.
Well, soon, if you live in South Philadelphia, you’ll get that chance, too — again.
The bakery is opening a second location at 2153 South Hancock St.
While it’s technically a new location, it’s not a new neighborhood for the kosher bakery, which will still uphold kosher standards. Its original location before it moved to Rhawnhurst 43 years ago was at Fourth and McKean streets.
There was “a big call for us to return,” said General Manager Rebecca Seiger, who’s worked for Lipkin’s for 26 years.
After “lots and lots of scouting,” owner Steve Nawalany — a longtime Lipkin’s customer who bought the bakery off of previous owner Mitch Lipkin in 2016 — found the spot for the second location, which will offer old and new favorites.
“The neighborhood is really excited to have him — back,” Seiger said.
While she wasn’t sure of an exact date, Seiger estimates the bakery will be open within a few weeks; they are just waiting on their final health inspection, but “everything’s ready.”
She’s heard many area residents express enthusiasm for the new location, lamenting they haven’t had salt sticks in years. Many have shared reminiscent tales of shopping at the original store.
While the bakery was facing zoning issues a few months ago in the beginning of the process, residents garnered 200 signatures in a matter of a few days in support of the location’s opening, Seiger said.
“We’re excited to be serving the community that wants us there,” she said, noting the Rhawnhurst location will still be in business and will have baked goods delivered daily to the South Philly spot.
Its original location served what is now a slightly different demographic, per an article on passyunkpost.com, which noted the neighborhood surrounding it was 90 percent Jewish when it first opened.
When Lipkin moved the bakery to its 8013 Castor Ave. location in 1975, most of the Jews near the original spot had moved.
“I think Mitch figured that only Jews would eat their products, so he moved it up to the Northeast, which was heavily Jewish then,” Nawalany said in the article.
It’s still a heavily Jewish clientele, he noted, but due to the bakery’s culinary standards it also attracts a lot of Muslim customers.
“Lipkin’s is still Jewish, but not like it used to be,” Nawalany said. “We get a lot of Muslim customers because it’s also halal — there’s no meat anywhere in our facility; we don’t even let the employees bring any in. And since we keep it kosher, of course, there’s no pork.”
The new location will offer some new twists on classic goods, Seiger said.
The bakery has already expanded its offerings of staples like hamantaschen and rugelach.
Where there were four hamantaschen flavors, now there are eight, Seiger said, including new flavors like cheese stuffed, raspberry chocolate chip, fudge-filled chocolate chip and pineapple.
There are now also 13 rugelach varities, up from five.
“We’re trying to get a little bit for everybody’s taste,” she said.
Those will join the 28 — yes, 28 — flavors of petits fours.
And don’t worry — there will still be knishes.
“If you see knishes anywhere in Philadelphia, they’re made by us,” Nawalany said. “We even ship them up to New York because people there prefer them to the New York City ones. We make them the way they’re supposed to be made — we bake them and use stretched dough.”
He added a lot of their customers don’t know what knishes are when they first try them.
“My staff tell them they’re like Jewish Hot Pockets,” he said.
Seiger said they are looking forward to getting the green flag to open — as are their neighbors. Phone calls have been coming in daily asking about the opening date of the new location, she said.
“I’m looking forward to reconnecting with the people from the neighborhood,” she said. “It’s nice to be a part of that community again.”