How an Old School Harlem Baker Became Known for Making the Best Rugelach Around

In a tasty episode of the series Food Skills, the folks at First We Feast took a foray outside of their ongoing hot wings series to travel uptown to Lee Lee’s Baked Goods on 118th Street in Harlem, New York City. Proprietor Alvin Lee Smalls explained that he loves the idea of providing the local community with “Rugelach by a Brother“. Rugelach is a traditional Jewish pastry that starts with a dough made with cream cheese and butter that can be filled with a variety of items, such as nuts, raisins, chocolate and fruit, then rolled up and baked. Small employs the old school baking techniques he learned in the army and is dong his best to keep these traditions alive.

Rugelach is one of the world’s most recognizable Jewish pastries. But in NYC, some of the best rugelach is made uptown at Lee Lee’s Baked Goods in Harlem. Tucked away on 118th Street, Lee Lee’s proudly offers customers “Rugelach by a Brother”—a tagline concocted by 75-year-old owner Alvin Lee Smalls.

Rolling Rugelach LeeLee's

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.