Weekend Cooking: Goodbye to Geiger’s Bakery

Geiger's

photo courtesy of Geiger’s Bakery Facebook page

Come Monday, yet another piece of my childhood will cease to exist.

Michael Klein’s brief blog post on Philly.com tells of the imminent closing (due to retirement) of Geiger’s Bakery on Frankford Avenue in the Mayfair section of Philadelphia, where they’ve been a staple of the community for 38 years.

My grandparents lived a few blocks away from the bakery; whenever we visited (which was often) my grandfather would have already “walked up the Avenue” to get us a treat. It simply wasn’t a family dinner without a Geiger’s butter cake for dessert or a sleepover at Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop’s without half a dozen powdered cream doughnuts waiting for us for breakfast when we woke up in the morning.

Growing up, the Geiger family themselves lived right up the street from my family. Those were the days when you actually knew every single person in your neighborhood. One of my best friends from those days reminded me of how her family used to babysit the youngest Geiger son and how his mother would bring home an unsold butter cake from the bakery for them to enjoy.

If you didn’t grow up in Philadelphia, chances are you probably don’t know what I’m talking about with this butter cake. I was shocked when we moved out here to Pittsburgh and people had NEVER HEARD of this. Suffice it to say that butter cake is the food of the gods. I mean, if they serve food in heaven — and I would like to imagine that it’s a 24/7, all you can eat, calories and carbs be damned to hell smorgasbord — then Geiger’s has earned a place on the menu.

As decadent as their butter cake and doughnuts and pound cake was, this isn’t about the food. Because all of our memories of food are really about something else. It’s a reminder of a time and a place that’s gone and of the people who shared that time and those places with us. Read the comments on the Geiger’s Bakery Facebook page and it’s person after person remembering cakes for special occasions, probably celebrated in homes that have long been sold and with loved ones who are no longer here.

Thank you to the Geiger family for making my childhood so sweet.

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8 thoughts on “Weekend Cooking: Goodbye to Geiger’s Bakery

  1. jama

    This made me think about the neighborhood bakery from my childhood. Thanks for sharing your memories and making us wish we could taste that butter cake right this second! 🙂

    1. Melissa Post author

      Not quite, Laurie. It’s a very rich, gooey cake (think melted butter) with a very thin, flaky golden topping.Each bite is probably about 5,000 calories. Definitely not something for the health-conscious. It might put me in a coma if I ate a piece now.

  2. Beth F

    Oh man, I really hate this kind of thing. It always feels as if a piece of the past had just fallen away. I didn’t know about butter cakes either until I met Mr. BFR (from the Philly area). I’ve never been to Geiger’s, but I’m going to see if any of my in-laws remember it.

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