The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local Scene

August 10, 2013

Bringing back tradition: Historic Eilenberger's Bakery to reopen this fall

PALESTINE — Palestine’s historic Eilenberger’s Bakery — known for shipping thousands of holiday desserts worldwide for more than 100 years — will be re-opening its Palestine bake shop this fall under a new local owner and plans to employ about 50 employees eventually.

Though the bakery ceased its local operations in September 2012, Eilenberger’s Bakery’s favorite products such as its Texas Pecan Cake, fruit cakes and gourmet baked goods have still been available and sold through its catalog and website.

Palestine businessman Bill Jones purchased Eilenberger’s Bakery in late July from its most recent owner, Southern Fulfillment Services, LLC, based out of Vero Beach, Fla., which had purchased the bakery in 2009.

The sale included the 65,000 square foot downtown building, Eilenberger’s Bakery fully functional website — and of course, Eilenberger’s original family recipes from the iconic Palestine bakery, which opened in 1898.

“I want to open up the bake shop back in its original location and go back to the original Eilenberger’s recipes and do it right,” Jones said, noting that the bake shop that has been used for the last several years isn’t the original location.

Jones plans to renovate the building and move all Eilenberger’s Bakery operations back to Palestine. Since the local closing in 2012, bakery production was being “farmed out” to a Nebraska bakery.

This year would be Eilenberger’s Bakery’s 115th anniversary. The bakery, known as the oldest bakery in Texas operating in its original location at 512 N. John St. in Palestine, was started by F.H. Eilenberger, who introduced the tastes and textures of the cakes he recalled from his mother baking during his boyhood in Leipzig, Germany. At one time, the bakery’s fresh bread was delivered in horse-drawn wagons.

“I want to go back to absolutely the real recipes that F.H. Eilenberger used and I think people will be able to taste the difference in the quality,” Jones said.

The 21-year-old Eilenberger added something new and unique to his mother’s recipes with the addition of native Texas pecans, becoming the hallmark of his bakery recipes that are still used today.

Palestine Main Street Director Laura Westgate is ecstatic about the benefits of Eilenberger’s reopening in downtown Palestine.

“We are thrilled to have Eilenberger’s once again operating in Palestine! It was devastating when it closed and created such a void in the downtown. We had visitors who stopped at the Visitor Center on a weekly basis, from as far away as Switzerland, looking for the bakery. It always hurt to tell them it had moved. Bill Jones is doing a wonderful service to the city and now the amazing culinary history can continue!”

Jones — who doesn’t plan to use entire warehouse space for the bakery operations — plans to use the rest of the warehouse space for fulfillment services, such as for national mail order and Internet companies that need a location to house their products before processing orders and shipping.

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