OAKLAND -- The bakery is new, but many of the faces at Taste of Denmark likely will be familiar to customers. That is because the business was founded by a collective of former Neldam's Danish Bakery employees who banded together to keep the baking tradition alive at 3401 Telegraph Ave.
Opening day is Sept. 9. A grand opening will follow, said Cathy Caulkett, who began working for Neldam's at the age of 16 when the original owners ran the bakery. She also watched the Oakland icon close July 15, after 81 years on the same block.
Now her daughter, granddaughter and about a half-dozen original employees will be helping behind the counter while veteran bakers Mark Davis and Rigo Luna create cakes, rolls, Danishes, croissants, pies and cookies. Others stayed on to run other parts of the business.
When Neldam's closed, the building owners, Sukhee and Kevin Yoo, who also are partners in the new enterprise, approached several of the employees about forming a cooperative so the building would not stand empty.
"We decided we would take it on," Caulkett said.
The group has some silent partners, none of whom include the owners of Neldam's. Caulkett preferred to focus on the future instead of the past.
"We have cleaned and painted and scrubbed from floor to ceiling for six weeks. People are going to say, 'Wow!' when they come."
The recipes will be familiar, but they will not be Neldam's. The new bakery breaks with the old establishment by offering slices of cake and Asian pastries. Other items will carry on with tradition: German chocolate, wedding and birthday cakes.
The hours beginning Sept. 9 will be 7 a.m.-6:30 p.m. weekdays; 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays.
For more information, call Taste of Denmark at 510-420-8889.