Horst (John) Fierek is a native of Hamburg, and Magrit (Mutti) Fierek is a native of Bonn, Germany. They immigrated to the United States in 1958. With great pride and determination, they set forth on a journey to carve out their slice of the American dream. Back in 1972 the couple opened Continental Pastry on Grand Ave in Maspeth. Through hard work and dedication to quality, John was able to develop a substantial network of country clubs, restaurants and catering facilities as outlets for his many products. While he was busy building the wholesale business, Mutti served our community from their little storefront on Grand Avenue. Many people in Maspeth and the surrounding areas relied on this bakery to not only get delectable treats and confections but also many of the classic European baked goods, especially during the holidays. As time marched on the business grew and the reach of this little bakery in Maspeth reached epic proportions.
Fast forward to 1992, when the couple’s son, Dean Fierek, graduated from Johnson and Wales University with an Associate’s Degree in culinary arts and a Bachelor’s degree in food service management. Although he was now formally trained, he literally grew up at his parents’ side in the family bakery watching them do what they did best. Once Dean came back from college he got to work and helped his family grow the business to dizzying heights. In 2013, Dean took the reins of the business and has been the driving force of this dynamic company ever since.
To put into perspective just how potent this little unassuming storefront on Grand Ave really is, here are a few facts that you might not know about Continental Pastry, the Home of Pastry-Delights. From New Hampshire to Nevada and everywhere in between, Continental Bakery’s products are being served on airplanes, in hotels, at catering halls and at restaurants across the United States. If you were ever on an overseas flight, at a ritzy casino in Las Vegas or at a wedding in Des Moines, Iowa, you very well might have enjoyed a pastry that was handmade right here in Maspeth! It is amazing to think that they are doing that kind of national business. As a chef and consultant in the industry, I was astounded at the reach of this neighborhood gem. I have been a customer of the bakery for years and I have always loved everything I ate there. It is no wonder they have such mass appeal.
As we are approaching the holidays, I must say that if you’ve never visited to sample all that this bakery produces, I cannot say this loud enough: YOU MUST TRY THEIR PIES!! Every year, Continental cranks out thousands of pies to send across the country, and according to Dean and his retail store manager, Chrissy, the company has grown so rapidly, and the community has changed so much over the years, that one thing that they really hope to accomplish is to rebuild their connection with the neighborhood. As Dean’s father’s generation retired and Dean became immersed in doing business on a national scale, he felt that he lost touch with what he loves best – the local one-pie-at-a-time business. With Chrissy’s help, the bakery is focusing more on the retail walk-in business now. It is very important to everyone at the bakery to make sure that the neighborhood is being well served and that locals come and rediscover what a hidden gem they have right in their backyards.
As I spent time with Dean, Chrissy and the crew at the bakery it was clear that they are serious about their craft. Whether it’s pies, mini-pastries, fruit tarts, doughnuts, cookies or my favorite – their amazing bread pretzels – you can seriously taste the love that goes into everything they do. I asked Dean what time of year was his favorite. His answer was emblematic of the love and dedication he has for this business. He replied, “I absolutely love the holidays, from Thanksgiving through Christmas. While it’s the most chaotic time of the year I consider it pleasurable pain!” For me as a chef, that said it all. Here is a man who loves his craft and loves his customers. As we spoke about his product line and his hopes for the future of his business I was really impressed at how humbled Dean is by how much people love his products and how many people across the country and beyond get to enjoy the fruit of his and his staff’s labor.
I want everyone to know that this business is a local treasure. As the holidays approach, get over to Continental Bakery and say hi to Chrissy, Dean and the crew, and taste for yourself what makes this business such a success. If you need pies for the holidays make sure you call ahead and put your order in, and if you are visiting for Thanksgiving or Christmas I highly recommend you pick up a box of Deluxe Petit Fours or some of their Mini-Delights and Mud Balls. These are amazing treats that I love personally, and they are always a huge hit at any party. My waistline unfortunately can attest to what I am saying! And if you or a loved one happen to be kosher, be aware that the bakery’s items are certified by the Orthodox Union.
In closing, it was an honor to be invited into the bakery as Dean and the crew were so gracious. It was exciting for me to see their own excitement at being featured in the Juniper Berry as they are big fans of the magazine. They really are great people and they are so passionate not only about their craft but about Maspeth and New York at large. I was extremely humbled myself when I learned how much this business does for our schools, our police, firefighters and veterans! They also have several employees who are veterans. I wish them continued success and another 50 years of prosperity and success. Thank you, Continental Bakery, for making our beloved Maspeth a much sweeter place…literally!
Continental Pastry is located at
65-51 Grand Avenue
Maspeth, New York 11378
Telephone (718) 894-4916
Counter hours: Wed-Sun 9am-5pm