It’s funny to think, that for the amount of time that the Quaker Bonnet has been around (est. 1932), I don’t think of it nearly as much as I should. Of course there have been various incarnations along the way, but the bakery (at one time an eatery) has always been with us.
The first time that I ever became aware of The Quaker Bonnet was when I was little. My dad would stop in to pick up the cinnamon ice cream and hot fudge sauce, which would be gone before anyone in the house even knew it was around. We would see the container in the garbage can, and only then realized what we had missed out on.
I also remember all of the cookies that would come through the house. They were always a big hit with anyone lucky enough to find where they were hiding. Then there were the cakes, the pies, and everything else that came inside the signature cardboard containers that resembled Chinese food containers.
Later on, I became a fan of the Quaker Bonnet eatery that opened in Allentown (now it’s the Allen Burger Venture). I would stop in for a coffee, a sandwich, and to talk to the owner whenever she was available (a real sweetheart).
When that version of the Quaker Bonnet closed, it was kind of like the end of an era. At the same time, one of the original Quaker Bonnet holdouts remained open. Located on the city’s West Side, on a sleepy little street called Chenango, much of the Quaker Bonnet magic exists to this day.
It took a cold and blustery Monday afternoon to draw me in for a quick look-see. That jaunt turned out to be a bit more of a whirlwind tour of the offerings, which were found wall-to-wall within the tight-knit surroundings. For the size of the place, there was plenty to fancy.
After talking to the girl behind the sales counter for a few moments, my wife (who has accompanied me) and I decided to snap up some coffee ice cream, a couple of boxes of shortbread cookies, and two split pea soups. As we checked out, we learned that business had a new owner, Tony Trusso, who bought the place a year ago.
Since Tony made the purchase, more products and more stock was hitting the floor. Loaves of bread are made fresh, in-house. There are bread crumbs, elephant ears, Lewiston jellies, peptaste (a naturally seasoned table salt, blended in Buffalo since 1946), wooden nickels, celery seed dressing, merinques (some gluten free), Fowler’s chocolates, pies, and various loaves of bread. It was great to see the array of products, many of which were made in-house.
A stop into Quaker Bonnet turned out to be the perfect excursion, at just the right moment in time. Neither one of us wanted to go to the supermarket, and 7-11 is pretty much useless when it comes to anything that resembles home baked or cooked.
On the way home, my wife and looked at each other smiling, knowing that we had just scored. We had not intended or expected to run across such a secret culinary treasure. We also made a decision to mentally bookmark this awesome neighborhood gem. We will be back again, now that it is fresh on our minds.