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Doughnut Lovers 'Jam' Crown Heights Bakery For Traditional Hanukkah Treat

By Sonja Sharp | November 27, 2013 9:09am
  In Hasidic Crown Heights, latkes take a backseat to Gombo's beloved jelly donuts. 
Gombo's Heimishe Bakery Does Jelly Doughnuts for Hanukkah
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CROWN HEIGHTS — Forget latkes — when it comes to celebrating Hanukkah in Crown Heights, the traditional potato pancake can't hold a candle to the neighborhood's famous jelly doughnuts.

At Gombo's Heimishe Bakery on Kingston Avenue, workers will spend the next 72 hours baking to prepare for the holiday, which begins Wednesday evening and ends on Dec. 5.

"As of now, we're going 24 hours a day just making doughnuts — we're not going to make any other goodies," said Levi Gombo, the bakery's owner. "We'll work the whole night making boxes of doughnuts so they're ready to go."

The doughnuts cost $1.25 apiece or .75 cents each in batches of 50 or more, shopowners said. They can be purchased at the store, but they recommended preordering to ensure there are enough in stock.

In addition to the traditional sugar-topped, jam-filled doughnuts most associated with the holiday, Gombo's is known around the borough for its specialty flavors, including caramel, pistachio and tiramisu.

As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 24 hours before the start of the festival, some of Gombo's most popular flavors had already sold out, as workers scrambled to make more.

"We provide thousands of doughnuts for the community over here, because they go out every night and they give out menorahs and doughnuts," Gombo said. "They give them out all over the city."

Rabbi Shloma Abramowitz planned to buy more than 2,000 of the sweet treats to give to children in hospitals across the city.

"[Gombo] is probably one of the biggest suppliers around," Abramowitz said.

Though Gombo declined to say exactly how many doughnuts his 4-year-old store expects to sell this Hanukkah season, he said each batch begins with a 100-pound bag of flour and yields roughly 1,400 doughnuts.

"Me personally, I like the caramel ones," said mom Avigail, 27, who dropped by the bakery Tuesday to pick some up. "The kids like the jelly." 

Other shoppers at the bakery said they looked forward to celebrating the holiday with the traditional treats.

"It's the best time of the year right now — every day I eat doughnuts," said shopper Musky, 20. "It's eight days of getting fat."