The Bavarian Bakery now is open at 1819 S. Dupont Highway, Dover
Lovers of German pastries and breads are sure to come away with Sehr gute Gefühle -- very good feelings -- following a visit to Dover’s newest spot for continental confections, the Bavarian Bakery.
Located at 1819 S. Dupont Highway, almost directly across from the Rodney Village Shopping Center, the bakery is the creation of Andy Janke and his sister, Monika Urquhart.
Although he’ll be making his return to the Dover culinary scene after an absence of several years, customers likely won’t see much of Janke: as the store’s master baker, he’ll be in the back tending his mixers and ovens. His days will start at midnight when he comes in to prepare for each day’s business.
Urquhart will be found up front with the store’s eight-person crew to greet their customers and will handle all the formalities related to running a successful business.
“I told Andy to focus on the back and not to worry about the paperwork,” she said.
Starting out right
Food preparation seems to be part of the siblings’ DNA.
“Our mom and dad were great cooks,” Urquhart said. “Mom worked in a restaurant and dad was a home cooker. I got into it when I was young.”
Originally from the town of Dutenhofen, north of Frankfurt -- “It’s so small it’s not even on the map,” Janke said -- they went through the standard German schooling, which includes training in a berufschule, a vocational school where students learn a trade.
“When I started, I said I don’t want to be dirty and I don’t want to be out in the cold,” Janke said. “My teacher said ‘I have the perfect job for you.’ That’s how I ended up in a bakery.
“It was a perfect job and I loved it.”
Urquhart took a similar path, training in the culinary arts, eventually working in and managing hotels and restaurants. She’s also directed departments in grocery stores, gaining valuable administrative experience.
She came to the United States in 1986 after marrying her husband, a U.S. Army officer, and spent many of the following years working in the food industry, including the Tom Thumb food and pharmacy chain in Texas.
After leaving the former Frankfurt Bakery in Dover, Janke took some time off and later worked as a bakery manager in Rehoboth. But something was missing in his life.
“I wasn’t happy,” he said, adding it often took 90 minutes just to get to work. “I needed my freedom to make my own stuff.”
Getting into the groove
It was around that time Urquhart and her husband called.
“We knew he didn’t like what he was doing and we asked if he’d be interested in getting back into the bakery business,” she said.
They found the right spot -- the former Kathy’s Kitchen -- hired an architect to draw up some plans and set to work early in January.
Since then Janke has been at the site almost every day, including weekends, as he worked with contactors to gut and expand the old building. Except for the four walls and half the roof, there’s very little left of the original structure.
“He just built it from the ground up,” Urquhart said. “Everything we have here is brand-new.”
With photos from Germany, crests of each of the German states on the walls, German and Bavarian flags on display, and German music playing in the background, the Bavarian Bakery will have a distinctly familiar feel to anyone who’s been to that country, including many airmen and their families at Dover Air Force Base.
“We wanted it to be nicer than the old one,” Urquhart said. “And this isn’t just nice, it’s off the scale.”
Janke will spend much of his time preparing well-known German and European breads and pastries such as Black Forest Cherry Cake, aka Schwartwalder kirschtorten, and the hard rolls known as Brotchen. Customers will enjoy homemade pretzels and various breads and rolls; they’ll also be able to order sandwiches prepared either with Boar’s Head meats and cheeses or imported German lunchmeats and various wursts.
And they plan to expand.
“We’ll be able to add more over time once we get into our groove,” Janke said.
“Our goal is to have the community come in here and be happy with the service we have,” Urquhart said. “We have a really good crew and we’re excited to be here, to bring that European flair into the community.”