When 6sqft met with Herb Glaser, the third-generation co-owner of Yorkville’s 116-year-old German bakery Glaser’s, he attributed the business’ longevity to the fact that his grandfather “had the foresight and the ability to buy the building that we are in.” So it came as a bit of a surprise when we learned over the weekend that the beloved bake shop will be closing its doors this summer. A bittersweet Facebook post stated that “After many years of daunting hours and hard work, the third generation of bakers have come to the difficult decision to hang up their bakers’ hat and move towards retirement.”
Herb Glaser working on a gingerbread village order this past December © James and Karla Murray for 6sqft
German immigrant John Glaser opened what was then primarily a bread shop in 1902, a time when the Upper East Side neighborhood of Yorkville was known as Germantown and the area was filled with German butchers, restaurants, and bakeries. Very few remain today, but Glaser’s has withstood the test of time, gaining city-wide fame for its black-and-white cookies and still filling up every day with both long-time residents and recent transplants. When holidays roll around, the line is out the door!
But after 43 years running the show, 65-year-old Herb and his 67-year-old brother John, told amNY, “We struggled with it for quite a while. But we realize what’s involved keeping [the bakery] going, and we just can’t anymore.” Herb also told Eater, “I do enjoy it, and I know I’ll miss it, and I know the customers will miss us, so it is a sad thing. But I just think it is time.”
The news first came via the aforementioned Facebook post:
Though there are still four months until Glaser’s closes its doors, the crowds this weekend were especially heavy after the news broke. In addition to the black-and-whites, Glaser’s is known for their extra chocolately brownies, jelly donuts, Bavarian pastries, and, around Christmas, pfeffernusse cookies. They’re also beloved by preservationists and old-timers for the fact that the store’s tile floors, apothecary-style wood cabinets, and tin ceilings are all original.
We imagine Herb will spend more time at his home upstate. In our interview, he said he has “lots of hobbies” and that he plays the piano and pipe organ, but wished he more time to practice, adding “maybe in retirement.”