We’ve been eagerly awaiting the annual re-opening of the Bierberg Bakery.
Ever since we started our German Village Walking tour in May, we’ve been walking past their location (at 729 South Fifth Street) every Saturday afternoon and stopping to talk to our tour guests about the history of this quirky little business that only opens for 2 months a year.
And now, cookie-lovers, they’re open! Here’s what to look for:
The business started in 1913, and was opened by Theresa Bierberg when her husband fell ill and she needed to support her family. The bakery’s original location was on S. 18th Street and they moved to their current location in 1971. Theresa had been a cook in her native Germany and was proud to say that she had baked a cake for the Kaiser. The bakery is now run by her granddaughter Helen Bierberg Walsh who continues the family tradition with help from her children, the fourth generation of Bierberg bakers.
Helen is also helped by friends and there are usually two or three people baking in their cosy little kitchen. They bake around 25 varieties of cookies and cakes, some of which come in various shapes and sizes, as well as bourbon-soaked fruit cakes and stollen. Helen’s friend and fellow-baker Kathy, who has been baking at Bierburg for the past 8 years, patiently explained all of the cookies to us as she opened the metal tins that the cookies are stored in.
The bakers are helped by various inventions and tools that Helen’s father, Gus, who ran the bakery for many years, invented, such as a home made warmer to keep the chocolate that they use for dipping cookies at just the right temperature and consistency.
The cookies are sold by weight, and all cost the same $16 per lb, which makes it easy to try one of everything or pick your favorites. My new favorite is their unassuming but oh-so-good fruit bars with the gingerbread-like lebkuchen and the chocolate dipped marzipan running close behind. The bakery is currently open 9am-5pm weekdays and 9-3pm on Saturdays. Closer to the holidays they will also be open on Sundays. They are always open for the German Village Lights on the first Sunday of December (December 4th 6-10pm). The bakery is cash or check only. You can call ahead to check if they are open at 614.443.9959