Thank you for the tasty memories

Brooklyn’s Nordic Delicacies to close

Photo: Arlene Bakke Nordic Deli on the 17th of May. The store has seen a great many parades in its 29 years, but will close by the end of January this year.

Photo: Arlene Bakke
Nordic Deli on the 17th of May. The store has seen a great many parades in its 29 years, but will close by the end of January this year.

Victoria Hofmo
Brooklyn, N.Y.

After 29 years in business Nordic Delicacies has decided to close. Located at 6909 Third Avenue in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, it is the last remaining Norwegian-owned food store in NYC. However, its reach goes far beyond, as they ship across the country—offering hard-to-find homemade specialty items such as; pinnekjott, fish pudding, fish cakes, and svinneribbe. For locals they have become a place to pick up hearty soups and affordable dinners. People of all ilk stop by for cardamom-filled waffles.

Featured in the film Lapskaus Boulevard, Director Marianne Kleven chose to make this Norwegian delicatessen the cornerstone of her story. While watching historic footage of Lapskaus Boulevard (aka 8th Avenue), she noticed that food was always at the center. Also, she felt this business touches people during the most intimate moments of their lives: baptisms, weddings, funerals, etc. She thought that Nordic most exemplified this sentiment.

Founded and operated by the Bakke family, Nordic Deli, whose matriarchy hails from Fjotland, Norway has become a fixture in the Bay Ridge community. The Ma and daughter (Arlene) duo who are there daily are also joined by Pa, who makes the popular waffles, and brother Steven, who helps out during the holidays. In fact, the entire family chips in when needed.

According to the family, they have chosen to close for a myriad of reasons. Many factors have converged: some are personal, some have to do with the cost of doing business in New York City, as well as the fact that their largest competitors have become not-for-profits who can sell things cheaper due to their lack of overhead and freedom from taxes.

I for one will sorely miss the place, as it is around the corner from my home and I stop in a few times a week. It has also served as a place I bring academics who are researching Scandinavian history and where many of my Scandinavian Walking Tours end or begin.

The quality of their homemade food cannot be beat. Nor the deli’s role as a gathering place. So, a skål to Nordic Deli and the Bakke family who runs it, for nourishing the the community in so many ways for 29 years. Know you will be sorely missed.

This article originally appeared in the Jan. 16, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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