I'm grateful for the baker and his wife. They don't know me, but I visit their shop every time I'm in Minneapolis. This bakery has been a Twin Cities fixture since 1987 and it has special time warp powers. It's not fancy inside, there are no pastel walls serving as a backdrop to white porcelain cake stands topped with trendy cupcakes or any kind of minimalist, hipster aesthetics. It's like going to visit a favorite relative's home filled with familiar smells, endearing knick knacks, hand made signs, and all the chaos of a family working feverishly to give you the best pastries you've ever tasted. The pastries are displayed on plastic trays in a glass case like they were in the days when we were all riding banana bikes and wearing knee socks. It's a little slice of heaven if you suffer from chronic nostalgia and prefer something authentic and unpretentious.
It's really about the pastries though. People keep coming no matter what they think of the unfussy interior. The baker is Gary Tolle and the baker's wife is Margaret Mossberg Tolle. Gary is a former pastry chef of Manhattan's Plaza Hotel and together he and his wife have created a Midwest legacy bakery. The pastries are gigantic, buttery and represent the best of American baking, from high brow to low. A Baker's Wife's shop is especially known for great doughnuts and lemon bars. I was there in November with my sister. She ordered a Caramel Cake and I ordered a Mankato Butter Cake with a chocolate glazed cake donut on the side. We did a little taste test and the Mankato Butter Cake came out the clear winner for both of us. It was so buttery and sweet that it melted into your mouth as you took a bite. I wish everyone could have a baker and his wife in their neighborhood. Lines here are often long and it's important to note that they only accept cash & checks. No cards! More than once I've found myself digging in my coat pockets for quarters because I forgot that little aspect of the lovable time warp. Go there. A Baker's Wife's Pastry Shop can be found at 4200 28th Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55406. They don't have a website, but they do have a Facebook page.