The Ultimate Guide to Philadelphia’s Classic Bakeries

Twenty-five hall-of-famers this city is proud to call its own.

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From South Philly cannoli experts to Northeast rye masters, these 25 bakeries have defined Philly’s sweet baking history — and show no signs of slowing their roll.

Aux Petits Delices, Wayne

There are Yule logs at Christmas, chocolate bunnies at Easter, and, well, deliciousness every other day of the year at this decades-old Wayne pâtisserie. And the French bakers here were doing macarons before they got cool. Known for: Croissants, petits fours, éclairs, any of the cakes in the case. 162 East Lancaster Avenue, Wayne.

Isgro Pastries, Bella Vista

It was founded in 1904, still uses original recipes, continues to be run by family, and has lines that grow longer every year. All of that puts Isgro beyond one of Philly’s best bakeries; it’s Philly food royalty, up there with the Di Brunos, Pat Olivieri and Georges Perrier. Known for: Hand-filled cannoli, rum cake, sugar-dusted fried zeppoli.

Denise’s Delicacies, North Philly

When her bakery caught fire a few years ago, Denise Gause was about to call it quits, but the community insisted she reopen her doors, and in 2016 the customers came flooding back. Her pound cakes are legendary, whether ordered plain or dressed up for a birthday party. Known for: Pound cake, sweet potato pie, cupcakes.

The Night Kitchen Bakery and cafe, Chestnut Hill

Night Kitchen’s birthday cakes are worth sitting in traffic on the Conshohocken Curve for — full of homemade soulfulness, yet most definitely something you couldn’t pull off in your own kitchen. When you visit, spare time to linger; the coffee, sandwiches and counter sweets will call your name. Known for: Event cakes, brownies, seasonal tarts.

Clay’s Creative Corner bakeryBerwyn

If you grew up on the Main Line, there’s a strong chance that every single one of your birthday cakes came from Clay’s — which is no doubt why people have such strong connections to this Berwyn bakery. Known for: Crazy-cool themed cakes (that taste good), cupcakes, doughnuts.

Frangelli’s BakerySouth Philly

It’s rare that a shop is good at cake and yeast doughnuts, but Frangelli’s churns both out daily, just as the original owners did in the 1940s. But don’t stop there: The cannoli cake, cookies and sticky buns get less attention but are just as delectable. Known for: Inventing the Franolli — a doughnut with cannoli filling and mini chocolate chips.

Cacia’s Bakery, multiple locations

The Cacia family — you’ll find a member on-site at the South Philly location 363 days a year — swears it’s the brick ovens that make the food taste so good. Maybe so; the tomato pie and stuffed breads that come from them (even the sauce-less pizzaz pizza) are first-rate. But that doesn’t explain why the dinner rolls and pastries are just as tasty. Known for: Tomato pie, stromboli, cannoli and, come Thanksgiving, turkeys in those brick ovens.

Corropolese Bakery & Deli, multiple locations

On first blush, it’s hard to know what Corropolese is, exactly: a deli? A bread maker? A pastry shop? Don’t overthink it; just walk around and grab a little bit of everything: a hoagie on a just-baked roll, tomato pie that’s prized for the tangy sauce and crisp edge, maybe an apple fritter to top things off. Known for: Tomato pie, sandwich rolls, pastries.

Swiss Haus BakeryOld City

Originally founded in the 1920s as Swiss Pastry Shop, this bakery has changed hands a few times but remains true to its mission. Beyond special orders, we love the convenience: They’ve got nine signature cakes on hand daily for immediate purchase. Known for: Cookies by the pound (more than 30 varieties are available daily) and hazelnut cake.

Haegele’s BakeryMayfair

Around since 1930 and still family-owned, Haegele’s is a Northeast institution (despite being pint-sized) and one of the few places left where you can get German sweets like kirschenstrudel and hefekranz, as well as a ton of seasonal options. Known for: Smiley-face cookies, Washington cake, butter cake, jelly sticks

Metropolitan Bakery, multiple locations

It ushered in an era for Philadelphia — before it opened in 1993, gourmet bread was rather elusive. All these years later, owners James Barrett and Wendy Smith Born manage to keep the Metro magic alive, in part because their bakeries double as neighborhood hangs. Known for: Raisin nut bread, morning pastries, that sour cherry and dark chocolate cookie.

Sweet Freedom Bakery, multiple locations

When SF opened on South Street in 2010, Philadelphians were skeptical: Were we really gonna buy bread, cupcakes, muffins and doughnuts from a bakery that was gluten-free and vegan and allergy-free? Three locations later (Grad Hospital, Bryn Mawr and Collingswood), we have our answer. Known for: Magic bars, apple cider doughnuts, challah.

Termini Bros. Bakery, multiple locations

With a bevy of locations around the city, you can get your cannoli fix anywhere these days. But you can’t call yourself a true Philadelphian without a visit to the East Passyunk flagship, for the original cash registers, the dizzying array of confections and, often, live music. Known for: Cannoli that are baked daily and hand-filled to order, Italian cookies, sfogliatelle, classic white wedding cakes.

Artisan Boulanger PatissierEast Passyunk

The people huddled on the street munching almond sticks and croissants at 7 a.m. on weekend mornings should be an indication of how good this place is — you can’t even make it back home before digging in. If that doesn’t convince you, the three James Beard nominations should. Known for: Pistachio croissants, baguettes, banh mi, and beignets — when they have them.

 Pie Lady CaféMoorestown

The muffins and doughnuts are good, but really, take a clue from the name and get a slice (or two?) of whichever pie special is on the board, be it fruit or custard-filled, latticed or crumble-topped. Known for: Pie! (Doughnuts and scones are neighborhood favorites, too.)

 Flying Monkey bakeryMarket East

When this Reading Terminal stand opened in 2010, it reminded us that bakeries can be good while also being fun. And its crazy concoctions, which have landed owner Elizabeth Halen on TV, made it an instant Philly classic. Known for: Dark & Stormy bundt cake, those pillowy whoopie pies, that now-famous Pumpple Cake — a mash-up of chocolate cake, pumpkin pie, vanilla cake and apple pie in one glorious confection.

 Bredenbeck’s BakeryChestnut Hill

This sweet shop — it also serves ice cream — is a Chestnut Hill stalwart, in part because it does it all, from the glazed rum ring with your morning coffee to baby’s first birthday cake to mini Key lime pies that can (and should) be ordered by the dozen. Known for: Look-at-me event cakes.

Napoleon’s CremepufferyLindenwold

Is cremepuffery a word? Who cares? This South Jersey bakery has been putting out puffs since the ’80s, when owner Charlene Napoleon converted an old ice-cream truck to a mobile bakery (so ahead of her time!) for traveling to festivals. Known for: Um, cream puffs, but also carrot cake.

Lipkin’s BakeryNortheast Philly

Kosher bakeries are rare these days; good kosher bakeries are even more so. That’s one of the reasons Lipkin’s — which was sold to a longtime customer in 2016 — has thrived for more than 40 years. Known for: Knishes, rugelach, challah.

Potito’s BakerySouth Philly

In the sphere of South Philly bakeries, Potito’s (opened in the 1980s) is a relative newcomer. But it doesn’t play second fiddle: Its traditional confections are revered by throngs who drive into town just for a visit. Known for: Cannoli, birthday cakes, Italian cookies.

Le Petit MitronNarberth

Some would consider this bakery the heart of Narberth — it’s where neighbors meet for coffee and kids pick up after-school snacks. Narbs are lucky it’s so authentic: It was started by a sweet French couple, and the goods are baked fresh daily. Known for: Croissants (plain and chocolate-filled), fruit tarts, cookies.

Baker Street Bread Co.Chestnut Hill

You’ve no doubt had Baker Street’s bread; the company has been supplying some of the city’s top eateries since 1992. It’s still worth a visit to the Chestnut Hill storefront, though, where a giant wall is filled with shelf after shelf of goods straight from the oven. It’s a sight (and smell) you’ll never forget. Known for: Sandwich and burger rolls, pumpernickel boule, chocolate chip cookies.

Four Worlds BakeryWest Philly

Owner/baker Michael Dolich is so dedicated to wholesome, back-to-basics cooking — he even mills some of his own grains — that all the ingredients in all his breads are listed on his website. What you won’t find at this West Philly shop: added chemicals or preservatives. It’s this dedication that keeps Four Worlds a neighborhood staple. Known for: Croissants (the chocolate or goat-cheese-filled ones, especially), whole wheat challah, bagels.

Sol Levante BakeryCheltenham

Tables at this Korean-meets-French bakery are lined with fresh, picture- worthy breads and sweets, making walking around the shop an exercise in self-restraint. Can’t stay away? No worries. SL is open from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. most days. Known for: Macarons, Korean birthday cakes, shaved ice, tea cakes.

Kaplan’s New Model BakeryNorthern Liberties

Kaplan’s won’t win any awards for decor, but that’s because all the love and energy the owners have is going toward producing some fantastic Jewish (and kosher) breads and treats, just like they’ve been doing for more than 100 years. One bite of the onion rye and you won’t care what the joint looks like, either. Known for: Rye breads (onion, black Russian), bagels, salt sticks.

» Read more about Philly’s booming bakery scene

Published as “The Philly Bakery Hall of Fame” in the October 2017 issue of Philadelphia magazine.