RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Strudel, donuts and crumb cake from the Borough of Trees co-star in unnamed but important roles in a new CBS television drama.
Varrelmann's Bakery, a Park Avenue go-to for over 110 years, is supplying both the stars of "Bull," and the characters they play, with a variety of baked goods on demand.
Although the show is set in a small Texas town, it's actually shot in Brooklyn. A prop master living in Rutherford knew a steady supply of pastries would be needed for the show, for on-air props and for off-air snacks. He and his mother had been Varrelmann's fans for years and turned to the old fashioned German bakery for help.
"We’re tracked with CBS to supply them with anything they need. We're very grateful," said Varrelmann's co-owner Mike Fencik, 61, who co-owns the shop and shares the baking with Kathy Young, 57. "We just gave them 16 dozen doughnuts that will be in an upcoming episode. And we were pre-warned that we’ll be the scene of a charity bake sale, so they'll need a variety of 120 baked items."
The cream of the crop was when "Bull" star Michael Weatherly went improv and burst out his love for the bakery's strudel.
"They left it in the script and it was on the air," Fencik said. "It’s (the strudel) made the old fashioned traditional way. It’s very hard to make. It’s not easy. You have to follow all of the steps. There are no shortcuts to strudel or it doesn’t come out right."
Fencik said the secret to his bakery's success is in the hard work and the ingredients. "Everything we do is old school and special. We don't cut any corners. If a recipe calls for 10 pounds of pure butter, that’s what we use."
His baking and business partner, Young, grew up working in bakeries, first Fishl's in Ridgewood, which was her uncle’s, then Margie’s in Union City.
They purchased the bakery in 1991 from the Judicke family, who bought it from the Varrelmann family. It's been sweet success since.
"We keep it real — no additives, no preservatives. Just ingredients. People are beginning to shopping local and they realize you can’t find the stuff we have anywhere else," said Fencik. "We know what caliber we’re at. We shop at other bakeries and know what we are as far as taste and quality — you can taste the difference."
Varrelmann's Bakery is located at 60 Park Ave., Rutherford and can be reached at 201-939-0462.