Hear the name â€œSwopeâ€ and you think of cars. Think â€œHeine,â€ and you smell coffee brewing. And â€œHeitzmanâ€ brings to mind delicious pastries and breads.
Itâ€™s been that way ever since Marguerite Schadtâ€™s great-grandfather, Jacob Heitzman, opened his bakery in 1891. She and her husband, Dan, carry on his legacy in their store, Heitzman Traditional Bakery & Deli, 9426 Shelbyville Road.
â€œThis is the one and only location. Other members of my family have their own stores with the Heitzman name, but we arenâ€™t affiliated with them,â€ she said. â€œMy great-grandfatherâ€™s bakery was in the Schnitzelburg neighborhood. Dan and I have had this store for 13 years. I started learning the bakery business when I was about six, so Iâ€™ve been around the block a few times.â€
The bakeryâ€™s day begins at about 1 a.m. with the production of around 35 dozen bagels made the New York way â€“ boiled in a gigantic cauldron, then briefly baked. Customers choose from about 13 varieties, with eight flavors of cream cheese. Some fresh bagels are driven to Dooleyâ€™s Bagels & Deli on Lime Kiln Lane; the Schadts recently bought the name and recipes, and itâ€™s proving to be a â€œvery successfulâ€ addition.
An early start also is needed to prepare up to 125 dozen doughnuts. Cutting and shaping the dough by hand, not machine, adds unique texture.
â€œBeing the areaâ€™s only traditional bakery means that we still use the main recipes we started with 121 years ago,â€ Marguerite said. â€œThe Heitzman name has always been associated with butter kuchen, the German-style coffee cake made with sweet dough, buttery custard filling, and white icing drizzled on top.â€
The bakery opens at 6 a.m., serving those treats as well as omelettes, biscuits with sausage gravy, and other filling fare.
â€œPersonally, Iâ€™m crazy about our Pecan Danish. Youâ€™re in heaven when you take that first bite of caramel and pecan,â€ she said. â€œPeople also stop by for our salt-rising bread, which we make about four times a week from a recipe thatâ€™s about 75 years old. It isnâ€™t salty, and it makes the best toast.Â My great-grandfather made it religiously, all the time.â€
That old-fashioned bread is popular at lunchtime, too, when itâ€™s ordered for grilled cheese sandwiches, perhaps alongside homemade vegetable soup. Four soups, such as chicken-and-dumpling, are available daily. For heartier appetites, the meat lasagna, with made-from-scratch sauce, is a hit.
â€œIt puts chills down your back, itâ€™s so good. Have a salad with it and youâ€™re ready to go,â€ Marguerite said. â€œSpeaking of going, we have two drivers who deliver catering orders, as well as our box lunches and sandwich trays.â€
To end lunches or dinners on a sweet note, Heitzmanâ€™s still makes its Strawberry Whipped Cream Cake from the 1891 recipe. Young adults, the Schadts report, tend to prefer a newer version that has cream cheese icing, as does the Carrot Cake. The youngest customers head for the fancifully iced cookies.
A party room in back accommodates about 50 people. Parties may include tours of the kitchen, where machines dating back a century or more are put through their paces (tours can be requested at other times as well). One oven rotates 100 pans at a time, in Ferris wheel fashion. This past weekend, such machines were needed to make as many as 700 King Cakes for Mardi Gras.
The bakery also has a dining room with seating for 125; itâ€™s popular for rehearsal dinners and other special occasions, and is also open daily for dine-in customers.
â€œRunning a bakery is hard work, but we love it,â€ Marguerite said. â€œThereâ€™s nothing like feeding the public. Itâ€™s fun â€“ people are smiling when they come in, and smiling when they leave.â€
Heitzman Traditional Bakery & Deli, 9426 Shelbyville Road, opens daily at 6 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 5 p.m. Saturday and at 4 p.m. Sunday. For information, visit www.heitzman-bakery.com or phone 502.426.7736.