There’s a good chance that if you’ve walked into one of Orwasher’s Bakery‘s Manhattan storefronts over the past decade you’ve assumed the 102-year-old business is still family owned. But the original Orwasher family sold it in 2007 to Keith Cohen. The likely confusion comes from Cohen’s dedication to maintaining the mom-and-pop feel of his Upper East and West Side locations, along with the vintage recipes for New York staples such as rye bread, challah, and sourdough. But he’s also used his business smarts to make some well-received updates, including a major expansion of the wholesale business, a new line of wine breads in collaboration with Long Island-based vineyard Channing Daughters, a formula for the perfect baguette (he even traveled to Paris to learn the art!), and, perhaps most impressively, the addition of the elusive New York bagel.
6sqft recently visited Cohen at the two-year-old Upper West Side location to learn a bit more about his journey as master baker and proprietor of one of NYC’s most beloved old-school businesses and get a behind-the-scenes look at where the magic happens.