Featured Philadelphia Restaurant: Swiss Haus Bakery
From its best selling, 3-layer Hazelnut Sponge cake, filled with butter cream and covered with chocolate shavings, to its original 19th Street location, this spot has kept generations of Philadelphians coming back for more.
Image: Swiss Haus Bakery
We spoke to with Jim Hausman, owner of Swiss Haus Bakery in Center City Philadelphia, to learn a little more about one of the best bakeries in town, and the details on the making a birthday cake for a respected leader.
How It Started
With many families migrating to the U.S., bakeries became very popular, carrying over sweet, authentic European recipes to what they would now consider home.
In 1925, the Christen family came over from Europe, and opened Swiss Pastry Shop in New Jersey, and Philadelphia’s Center City.
At the downturn of the economy, the shop closed its doors to its beloved customers after more than 80 years of service.
For Jim Hausman, no longer seeing friends and family press their faces against the glass displays, gazing into the decorated cakes, was not an option.
“I contacted the chef, Donna Canzanese, and asked her if she wanted her job back. I had minimal baking experience, but I’ve been an entrepreneur all my life, so I decided to open the Swiss Haus Bakery in January 2008.”
Committed to keeping the smell of baked goods alive in the community, Hausman put together a team, and re-opened the 19th location under the name Swiss Haus Bakery.
Image: Head Chef Donna Canzanese and owner Jim Hausman. Photo credit: Swiss Haus Bakery
Using the original recipe in place for 87 years, the team kept the Swiss Pastry Shop’s crowd-pleasing Hazelnut Spongecake in the menu, appearing in everything from weddings to bat mitzvahs, and birthdays.
Some of the most popular and most ordered through DiningIn include: Bavarian Apple Cheese Tart, Cannoli, Chocolate Éclair with Custard Filling, Pear and Peach Frangipane, and Assorted Cookies.
Image: Swiss Haus Bakery
A Cake for the Dalai Lama
In the summer of 2010, Hausman received a cake request for an unexpected Philadelphia guest.
“We received a phone call from someone saying that the Dalai Lama was coming to Philadelphia for his birthday, so they wanted to get him cake from best bakery in town. We thought it was a joke at first.”
Turning 73 years old, the Dalai Lama received a creamy, custom-made classic from Swiss Haus Bakery, topped with the words “Happy Birthday To Your Holiness” written on it.
“We presented it to him on stage at a conference, and had the pleasure to see a large group of people enjoy our Strawberry Shortcake. It was an honor.”
Believe it or not, everything from the cakes and pastries is still done the old fashioned way, but the Swiss Haus team has included different products to appeal to a wide range of customers in the Philly market such as certified Kosher baked goods.
With a tradition of baking fresh cookies, custom cakes, and pastries, Swiss Haus Bakery is just clicks away from creating sweet and heavenly “Memories You Can Eat.”
Learn More about Swiss Haus Bakery
See full menu and order food online and DiningIn.com