BY JANICE LLANES FABRY
Who of a certain age doesn’t remember Yodels in their lunch box, the crinkly sound when you unwrapped Twinkies, the puffy marshmallow filling in Mallomars? The Snackery Bakeshop, which opened on Purchase Street last week, brings them all back, only they’re all made in-house with finer ingredients and a few delicious surprises.
“I wanted a bake shop to be a place where families could make memories,” said owner and master baker Sara Leand. “A lot of what I do has a nostalgic bent to it. I love the idea of connecting your childhood with that of your kids.’”
How sweet it is to have such American iconic classics on the bakeshop’s menu as Lunch Lady Brownies, Old School Cupcakes, S’more Fudge Bars, and Moon Pies.
As for those surprise twists, Twinkies are made with carrot cake and Ring Dings are made with red velvet and a cream cheese filling. The inventive baker’s homemade cookie offerings range from M’oreo Oreos to Sara’s Fancy Chocolate Chip Cookies with dark Belgian chocolate with Fleur de Sel salt. There are plenty of gluten-free and vegan treats, too.
The Snackery has a wide selection of cakes, beautiful inside and out. Their signature Crazy Hair Cake consists of layers of red velvet and vanilla cake topped with a crazy hair design wrapped in vanilla buttercream. The Devil Made Me Do It is devil’s food cake layered between creamy, rich, dark chocolate frosting. Seasonal pies are available as well.
Breakfast specialties include strawberry/cinnamon pop tarts, cream cheese stuffed carrot cake muffins, high-fiber flaxseed berry muffins, and a variety of croissants. For lunch, there are baguette sandwiches, salads, and soup.
The store sports a retro vibe complete with tin ceiling, pale color palette, and a vintage 1950s Welbilt stove. As with her baking, Leand sprinkles in modern touches, like an Instagram wall where kids can take photos amidst the warm, inviting shop that has both table and counter seating. Having completely renovated the space, she left no trace of the Jos. A. Bank menswear retailer that was there for years.
“I always wanted a store front in Rye, so when a loyal customer presented the opportunity, we could not pass on the chance,” said Leand who lives locally. “Everyone has been so supportive. It has been incredible.”
The Snackery is very much a family business. The baker extraordinaire regularly experiments with recipes at home. Husband Paul came up with the recipe for Energy Bites; their daughter Lily, 12, is credited with the catchy Snackery moniker; Matt, who is 11, came up with a Take and Bake concept, much like Pillsbury cookie dough with baking instructions. As for 9-year-old Holden, “He’s my best taster,” said his mom. To honor her grandmother, a portion of sales from Leand’s decorated cookies goes to Alzheimer’s research.
“I baked as a little girl with my grandmother,” recalled Leand, whose Easy Bake Oven got plenty of use. “She was a very important role model and an entrepreneur as well.”
In college, Leand started a small cookie business that she ran out of her University of Arizona dorm. Her treats became popular on campus and at local stores.
But after graduation, she moved to Los Angeles and began a career in television production. A successful executive producer, Leand went on to launch her own company, Organized Chaos, creating shows for various networks.
Once she met Paul, she moved back to the East Coast. When she became pregnant with their first child, flying back and forth to Los Angeles became increasingly less appealing. She left television behind and channeled her true passion.
“I used to bake for friends and family any chance I had,” she recalled. “Many of my friends and family encouraged me to try to sell them again.”
Leand took her sweet wares to Zabar’s across the street from their New York City apartment. The gourmet emporium couldn’t resist and became the Sara Snacker Cookie Company’s first customer. After she opened a factory in Long Island, she branched out to Fairway Market, Wegmans Supermarket, Balducci’s, D’Agostino, DeCicco’s, and other retailers nationwide.
The company thrived for a decade before Leand decided to open a brick-and-mortar store in Larchmont in 2018. After closing during the pandemic, it has been reborn in Rye.
“I love being in the business of making people happy, whether with a treat for yourself, or to celebrate a special occasion, or to help someone feel better,” she remarked. Life has a lot of ups and downs. We hope we can be a positive in somebody’s day.”
<For more information, menus, online ordering, visit snackerybakeshop.com.
The Snackery Bake Shop will expand its hours over the next few weeks. Currently, the store is open Tuesday through Friday from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. with pre-order pickups available on Saturdays.>