Fair Lawn—It’s a family affair. “I grew up in bakeries. It’s what I know,” says Adam Steinberg. Adam is one of the four co-owners of Zadies Bake Shop along with his father Larry, brother Josh, and cousin Eric. The Zadie in the title, by the way, refers to Adam’s Zadie. So saying Zadies is a family affair is most accurate.
Adam is a fourth generation Steinberg in the bakery business. However, unlike his brother Josh, who attended culinary school and showed an interest in the bakery business from a young age, Adam had other plans. After attending Ohio State University, Adam’s intention was to be a World History teacher. However, as he says, “Hashem had another plan.” This new plan has caused Adam zero regret. In fact, he loves what he does and is happy that he “got the opportunity to join the family business.”
That opportunity came from his father Larry. “I learned from my father, wo is a 30-year veteran of the baking industry. Larry, who has had bakeries in both Long Island and out West, came to Fair Lawn nine years ago with the intention of opening up a business with his son Josh. The two of them found a bake shop for sale in Fair Lawn and saw it as an area of great potential. Eventually Adam and Eric joined the business as well.
Remember those old Dunkin’ Donuts commercials. A tired looking man continues to shlep out of his house despite the time of day or conditions all in the name of fresh donuts. Well, it’s pretty much like that at Zadie’s. In fact, the oven is always baking. And it needs to stay that way if Zadie’s is going to continue to maintain its high quality. “We do everything out of Fair Lawn and by hand.” Adam says they have no intention of changing the way they operate—they insist on the best. “Our mantra is that quality and freshness count. We put the best ingredients in and get the best out. We want to make our product the best.”
And maintaining that quality is demanding. Adam is at the bakery by 5 a.m. and doesn’t leave till 6 p.m. His first task of the day is to set up the store so that is ready for its 6 a.m. opening. Adam says of his work day, “Every day is really different. I set up the store—lay out all the breads, rolls, cakes, straighten up—so that we’re ready to open at 6 am. As the day progresses, I speak to wholesale accounts, help in the store, and pack cake and bread for wholesalers.” While Adam has a role in the bakery, ultimately he does what needs to be done. This is the operating philosophy of the bakery. “One thing does not function without the next. We all contribute, Everything has its schedule. I couldn’t do anything without the help of my family and my employees,” says Adam.
Clearly, the bakery business is hard work. However, Adam says it’s worth it to make people happy. “It’s so nice to know that there are a lot of people out there that are eating our food. When they come up to me and tell me how good it is, it makes all the long hours worthwhile.”
Despite its great success, Zadie’s Bake Shop is not resting on its laurels. “We are always trying to make new items,” says Adam. Some items that are relatively new include a flourless chocolate cake topped with raspberry and covered in chocolate ganache. A few years ago they came up with a cocktail pull-a-part challah. They make five types now. One type has babka crumbs on top and marshmallow fluff inside each bun. A second type has chocolate chips on top and chocolate fudge inside each bun. A big change came three years ago when Zadie’s made the decision to go nut free. “It was an easy transition, and one we were glad to make,” says Adam.
While Zadie’s Bake Shop is located in Fair Lawn, the products are available throughout Bergen County and beyond. “We are all over North Jersey, parts of Queens, Manhattan, and South Jersey “says Adam. It’s not just us in the Northeast who are enjoying Zadie’s Bakeshop’s delicious cakes and breads. Adam notes that the bakery delivers to some kosher outlets in Boca, Atlanta, Northern Ohio, and Southern Michigan and has the ability to ship to any state.
However, their heart is in Bergen County and in Fair Lawn in particular. “We have so much love for Fair Lawn. The people are so nice and loyal.” One way Zadie’s Bake Shop reciprocates this loyalty is by donating leftover bread to a local soup kitchen and donating leftover cake on Fridays to local shuls.” Adam says donating is a way of showing thanks and acknowledging that all of the success is from Hashem.
You might think that Adam has grown bored with the delicious food that he’s around all day. Well, you would be wrong. He nibbles all day, whether it’s on a mini black and white or a hot cheese Danish in the morning. He says, “I’ve been eating this stuff since I was a baby.” Don’t force him to pick his favorite dessert. “It’s like having 16 kids. I love them all.”
That love is apparent in all of Zadie’s Bake Shop products. Thanks to Adam and the rest of the family, the Marie Antoinette quote—“Let ‘em eat cake”—never sounded so good.
By Larry Bernstein