EAST VILLAGE — A Kosher bakery specializing in cheesecakes — whole or by the slice — gluten-free cookies and special occasion desserts has opened in West Town's East Village.
Led by pastry chef Maayan Zimmerman, with help from baker Nancy Diaz, Maayan's Bakery is located at 937 N. Ashland Ave., across from Wells High School.
At Maayan's Bakery, cheesecakes are made in four flavors daily — lemon, whisky chocolate, plain with caramel and raspberry drizzles or topped with chocolate shavings.
Cheesecake slices cost $4 each and whole pies, which can be sliced into 16 pieces, cost $48.
Cookies, which are large and cost $4 each, are available in five varieties: peanut butter chocolate chip; "full loaded oatmeal cookie" with lemon zest, chocolate chip, walnuts, cinnamon and oats; chocolate chip heaven; gluten-free egg-free chia seed chocolate chip; and triple chocolate crunch.
The shop also serves Dark Matter coffee. And for aspiring bakers, Zimmerman carries a line of vanilla extract called Unorthodox, which sells for $16 per bottle.
Zimmerman, a 34-year-old mom of five, met Diaz when they were working together at a Breadsmith in Skokie 12 years ago.
After Zimmerman had her third child, she left Breadsmith to raise her children and run a catering business out of her West Rogers Park home, focusing on special events.
The catering business grew quickly through word-of-mouth, Zimmerman said.
On Thursday afternoon, Zimmerman and Diaz were working on completing an order of chocolate-dipped cake pops for a Saturday bar mitzvah, after having just finished a few dozen chocolate-topped muffins for another client, who needs the desserts for a Friday night aufruf, or pre-wedding ceremony.
A few months ago, a mutual friend connected Zimmerman to Jon Markowitz, who owns the apartment building at 937 N. Ashland Ave. and was looking for a tenant to anchor the ground floor.
"[Markowitz] thought a bakery would be good here," Zimmerman said, adding that it's a 30 minute drive from West Rogers Park to West Town but despite that, some of her clients have followed her to the new location and she is slowly getting new business from walk-ins.
Now that Zimmerman has a location of her own, she plans to offers "date night" and family baking classes, as well as high tea tastings. Classes can be booked in advance on her website.
Hours are "7:30 a.m.ish" to about 3 p.m. daily, or until the baked goods sell out. The bakery is closed on Saturdays. On Sunday, hours start "not as early ish" around 8:30 a.m., until 3 p.m.
Visit Maayan's Bakery website for more info, or call 773-697-3038.
Cookies at Maayan's Bakery. [Maayan's Bakery.]
A sign, cheesecake sampler and Maayan's Bakery at 937 N. Ashland Ave. [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]
Cake pops, a Maayan's Bakery catering order for a Saturday Bar-Mitzvah. [Photos by DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]
Cheesecake samples at the front counter of Maayan's Bakery.
Nancy Diaz, left, and Maayan Zimmerman at work in the kitchen of Maayan's Bakery.