Stolle Bakery: From Russia, With Love
By Patrick Kearns
Queens is routinely praised for its deeply diverse array of cultures and the cuisine is no exception. You can travel a mile in any direction and experience the native tastes of a dozen cultures. In Long Island City, there’s a new contender for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and it’s time to start thinking outside the classic fast food meal and check out Stolle Bakery.
The pies made fresh daily at Stolle Bakery are the perfect New York City meal: they’re great for someone on-the-go and are filling enough for a full meal or perfect for a coffee break. With a new Long Island City-based location, residents all over the city will soon have a chance to try a pie from the chain which was founded in Russia in 2002.
Irina Belska, the Latvian-born woman who brought Stolle to America, hopes that the residents of Queens and New York City will welcome Stolle and their European-inspired pies – both savory and sweet – with open arms.
“We decided just to enter New York because this is the big area where a lot of startups happen and a lot of the taste happens,” said Belska. “We hope that our pies will be accepted and the clients will love it.”
Located inside the Falchi Building at 31-00 47th Avenue, which is becoming a new hub for small vendors, all of the pies are baked fresh each morning. There’s a small window and storefront to act as a mini-retail point for anyone looking to pick up a pie on their way home or on their lunch break.
Behind the counter through transparent glass the entire production process is on display for anyone who walks by and wants to see recipes that are generations old be prepared fresh every day. It’s that sort of rare peek behind the curtain that helps new customers ease into something that they might have previously been afraid to try. There are no secrets at Stolle, just fresh ingredients.
“Our idea is to develop very quickly around New York City and maybe to the other coast,” Belska said.
Belska hopes people will give the pies a chance. She also welcomes feedback from customers. Some have already tried the pies and come back a second time with their positive feedback.
“I hope that people will accept our brand and I hope that people will like our brand,” she said. “We are very appreciative and very lucky that they’re coming back to us and telling their feedback.”
This is the first location in the United States, but Stolle Bakery already has a long-established tradition in Europe. The first cafe opened in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2002. It began as a small restaurant that served traditional cuisine, but it was their pies that stood out. After they began to catch on, Stolle expanded to multiple locations throughout Moscow, Kiev, London and other parts of the Russian Federation.
Now, Stolle has found a home in the most diverse county in the United States, and its menu is as diverse as Queens, too. There’s an array of meat pies, with fillings including ground beef, rabbit and chicken. And for the pescatarian in the family, there’s salmon pie and a cod-and-pike pie.
The list of sweet pies is even longer, with fillings that include cherry, cranberry, lemon, strawberry and blueberry, to name a few.
“Everything is made with love as a grandmother would [make],” Belska said. “Everything is baked in the morning fresh with no preservatives, no frozen fruits and ingredients.”
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