Saturday, May 18, 2024

Ottawa’s Legendary Rideau Kosher Bakery. A Story Of 89 Years in Business And Its Future

The news of the closure of the beloved Rideau Bakery rocked the Jewish community. The city operated two establishments that had become legends. To find out what the story behind this establishment was and whether it’s expected to continue, the will help you figure it out.

A story that started back in 1930

Let’s recall how it all started. In 1930 in Ottawa, brothers David and Abie Kardish opened a kosher bakery, the only one of its kind in the city. They had a bakery at the corner of Rideau and Nelson Streets, where their mother, Rivka, made delicious bread. Interestingly, these were recipes from Ukraine brought to Ottawa. Next came the time of the Great Depression, when most of the city’s bakeries began to close, but Rideau’s stayed afloat.

The next test came in 1946 when a fire broke out just outside the bakery. Then the family business had to be moved to Clarence Street. As early as the following year, 1947, the second generation of the Kardish family took the lead in the bakery, namely sons Louis, Sam, Moe, and Isi, together with their sisters Jennie, Libby and Ann.

The second store was opened in 1965 on Rideau Street.  Over time, the family succeeded in acquiring a building on Bank Street.

The third generation, David and Louis Kardish and their cousin David have led the bakery management since 1993. After David passed away in 1999, it was just the two of them.

Three generations

On June 29, 2019, two locations of the legendary kosher bakery in Ottawa officially closed at once:

  • 384 Rideau Street. If you recall, this was the location that used to serve as the center of the Jewish community in Canada’s capital city
  • 1666 Bank Street, in the Alta Vista neighborhood.

In addition to these establishments, Rideau Bakery supplied bread as well as kosher pastries to other merchants. Even supermarket shelves featured bakery products.

The Jewish community establishment was owned and operated simultaneously by three generations of the Kardish family.

Problems and the last owners

In a conversation with the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin, owner Louis Kardish spoke about the last days of the legendary kosher bakery. He and his brother David Kardish worked and ran the place, but sales have dropped significantly over the past few years.

The deciding factor was Louis’ declining health, for he had been diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma at that time. So the brothers, the last owners of the bakery, decided to close.

He recalled that for over 42 years, his routine day was working at the bakery, which also became his way of life. He wished their family business would extend to the fourth, next generation. 

One of the Last

You can learn more about the Kardish family by watching this documentary. It’s the story of a family who left Ukraine, moved to Ottawa and opened the family’s own bakery.

The documentary’s name comes from the fact that one of the owners of a legendary kosher bakery is convinced that the next generation will not run a similar business. He predicted it would be one of the last of its kind.

Not long after that, it was revealed that Farm Boy Inc. had acquired the assets of the Kardish family’s Rideau Bakery. It means that the brand will continue to produce bakery products across Ontario.

The Kardish brothers were excited about the offer. After all, they saw it as an opportunity to continue the family business and preserve the brand name. What does this mean? It is, above all, a living tradition of kosher baking based on grandmother’s recipes, backed by the modern management and logistics of the new company.

The White Knight

Farm Boy Inc. has become a White Knight in this case, as it has continued the legacy of the beloved bakery. They partnered with the Kardish family to coordinate highlights and preserve the iconic brand.

Therefore, the story of the legendary bakery is not over but has undergone some transformations. But one thing has remained unchanged the Challah, which is the egg bread, whose recipe was brought from Ukraine as well as recipes for other delicious kosher products.

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