Phoenix Phoodies: Karl's Quality Bakery Brings Baked Goods to Sunnyslope and Beyond

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Sunnyslope has seen its fair share of changes in the last decade. But what hasn't changed is dessert - namely, from Karl's Quality Bakery. Stefanie and Karl Boerner have managed this family-owned sweet spot on the corner of 7th Avenue and Dunlap for the last 15 years. Specializing in German and Swiss treats, Karl's freshly made confections include streudels, croissants, chocolate-dipped gingerbread, marzipan-filled pastries, Danish, petit fours, and their best selling Alligator Coffee Cake. With Stefanie at the front of house, you're always guaranteed a sample. Holidays are made all the more festive by their stollen, yule logs, and dreydel-shaped iced sugar cookies. Karl's Quality Bakery has weathered many neighborhood storms, and when changes threatened the shop's lease this summer, the people of Sunnyslope rallied with an e-mail campaign that got the city council's attention and saved Karl's. Talk about just desserts.

Chow Bella: How long have you been in Phoenix?
Stefanie Boerner: Since 1994. I married into the bakery. We had a bakery for many years in Seal Beach, California.

CB: What made you move to Phoenix?
SB: Los Angeles. (Laughter.) I didn't want to live there. Our kids were small and I wanted to move. Karl had a job offer here so we came, and within eight months we opened our bakery.

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CB: Is your whole family involved in your bakery?
SB: Yes, sort of. We have two daughters. One is very talented in the bakery world. She is studying chocolates and pastries in Switzerland. She just won a gold medal for her chocolate Phoenix bird. She will probably come back after she has been out in the world, she'll probably have her own bakery first. Our youngest daughter is a freshman at ASU. She tells me, "You are ruining Christmas!" because she is working here. (More laughter.)

CB: You must go through a lot of butter and eggs in a week.
SB: Oh yes. We use about 50 dozen eggs in a week, and at least that much butter, around 50 pounds of butter. We have it delivered in 30 pound cubes, and we'll go through at least a couple of those a week.

CB: What is your favorite treat?
SB: I am very open minded, but my favorites change depending on the weather. In the summer, I prefer fruity, cold, and creamy. In the winter I want bready, warm and sticky. I love the cream cheese Karl makes and fills in the pockets, it's the best. I love butter. Me and butter. (Heavy sigh.)

CB: How do you stay in such great shape?
SB: Only one treat a day. And that is it. You can only have one.

-- Sloane Burwell


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