By Victor Milani
There is a never ending opening of franchise specialty eating establishments opening daily in Northeast Ohio seemingly every other day. One family and it’s name has stood out for old world quality products!
For more than 50 years, the Reinecker family-owned bakery has offered a taste of old world breads and desserts to Northeast Ohio
But there’s one family-owned bakery that’s still strictly old school. Or maybe “Old World” is a better term. Reinecker’s Bakery on 8575 S. Freeway Drive in Macedonia has been baking German-style breads for more than 50 years, using recipes that go back centuries.
It all started with Richard Reinecker, who moved to the U.S. from Germany in 1957 with his mother. He had already become a master baker or “baeckermeister” in the old country. In Cleveland, the 27-year-old began working at Sowinski’s bakery on East 82nd Street. His daughter Caroline says she and her siblings learned the business early.
“We were in our walkers of high chairs sitting right next to mom and dad while they were making wedding cakes or baking bread and now it’s the same here except we live behind the bakery instead of above it.” Caroline and staff begin the day at 2 or 3 in the morning, and say, “we work until we are done”.
Reinecker bought the bakery, and on February 28, 1972 moved it to Macedonia where today, three of his five children, Rick, Caroline, and Heidi run it. They are all products of the Nordonia Hills school system.
“Caroline has a degree in culinary arts, I have a degree in pastry arts and a degree in food service management, and Rick has an accounting degree.”
Their father sold to local Germans and Eastern Europeans and today it’s a favorite for military people and travelers who picked up a taste for the dense bread or poppy-seed and nut patica (strudel) in Europe. Rick says it’s not hard to market.
“People who grew up with these products…when they see it they are excited to see it so it sells itself because you can’t get it everywhere.”
Reineckers even Fed-exes their breads, says Heidi, to fans in other states.
The Reinecker children haven’t messed with the recipes and they keep the old German names like “vollkorn brot” too.
Health conscious Americans may be attracted to the lack of any artificial ingredients. The rye flour they use has more protein and less gluten than the wheat flour used in American bread. The Reineckers are still using the same active culture to produce sour dough that their father used in 1959. Caroline calls the sponge and sour fermentation process a natural probiotic.
Step into their bakery and it looks like stepping into Germany. Almost all the major machines are from there. Even the slicing machines are German. The ovens are Michael Wenz’s MIWE brand says Heidi, “it’s the same company my dad bought the original ovens from in Germany. He bought German ovens because that’s what he knew. He knew Michael Wenz and he got the ovens from him.
One curious sign you may see on some local bread aisles states “The Reineckers are on vacation. There will be no bread for the next two weeks.”
Rick explains “my father started that when we were very young. He had 5 young children and he never got to spend time with his family so probably for 30 years or better we’ve been closed for two weeks in July and two weeks in January and most of our customers know that we’re going to be closed at that time and they stock up before.”
Their father’s plan from the beginning was to sell their breads to grocery stores, and today their products are available in some 200 retail stores in the region. He died 11 years ago and their mother died three years ago. Rick Reinecker says they will carry on.
According to Rick, “We’re as loyal to our customers as they have been to us so we’re going to keep at it as long as we can afford to and health-wise can do it.”
They specialize in European style sourdough rye breads. Reineckers have a Party Center and Catering Services, and do wedding cakes and specialty tortes.
Customers agree! These are just two of the hundreds of testimonials satisfied patrons have written!
“I love all their rye and whole grain breads! They are more flavorful and heavier than supermarket and commercial bakeries. Lots of variety, and if you can’t visit some Giant Eagle’s and Zagaras groceries carry their products.. I’ve never been to Europe but this is what most of their bread is like!”
“Monday night I attended a club meeting where dinner was served and I was very happy for the wonderful meal at Reinecker’s Bakery. The food was uniquely tasty and the bakery for dessert was so good I asked for more. There were a few speakers and background music and I can’t remember having a better time while eating.”
Whether it’s for a social event, meeting venue, or just to order some delicious old world pastry or bread, you can’t go wrong when patronizing Reineckers. 50 years old and still putting old world classic great tastes!
When you are planning a special event, the food you will offer your guests is one of the most important considerations. Reineckers can make your planning easier by putting our 50 years of experience behind your menu. Their facility will accommodate from 40 to 175 people. Call 330-467-2221 for details! The love of what the family does, and the long family tradition, is what keeps the Reinecker’s thriving!
Look to Reineckers to craft a customized menu for your:
- Wedding reception
- Holiday celebration
- Family gathering
All of their banquets include:
Choice of 2 or 3 entrees
Choice of 1 to 3 potatoes
Choice of 1 to 3 vegetables
Tossed salad with dressing
Bread and butter
Coffee, tea, and decaf
Soft drinks, iced tea and liquors are available at a minimum charge
If your event is held at Reineckers, your package also includes:
- Hall rental
- Linen tablecloths and napkins
- China and silverware
Ask Reinecker’s about enhancing your banquet with hors d’oeuvres and a custom wedding cake.