Hans' Bakery was the American dream of German immigrants, Hans and Traudy Birkner. Although, Hans brought his traditional recipes over from the 'old country,' he quickly realized that they would need to be modified to satisfy the American sweet tooth. After achieving success at two other local bakeries, Hans came across a former fast food building in Anoka, Minnesota that was perfectly positioned between two schools, on bustling 5th Avenue. Soon after, Hans' Bakery was born!
From the day it opened in 1973, Hans' was a family affair. The Birkner children still tell stories of cleaning under the bakery cases when they were small enough to fit underneath them. It didn't take long for the neighborhood to become "family" too. Local men and women gathered around large round tables for coffee and a slice of Hans' famous German Beehive, while children rushed in to grab a their favorite Texas doughnuts before class.
In 1998, after decades of ownership, Hans Birkner passed away suddenly. In the years that followed bakery changed hands while the new owners struggled to keep up with grocery chains and big box retailers that had moved into the area. By 2010 the crowds had vanished and Hans' Bakery fell into foreclosure. The loss to the community was so great that the Anoka Historical Society even kept some of the Bakery's dishes for historical reference.
Thank you to every person who has helped bring Hans' Bakery back to life. I am forever grateful!
Excerpt from the Pioneer Press 6/10/2013 By Sarah Horner
Kelly Olsen still remembers proudly prancing into Hans' Bakery after she nabbed a prestigious award 31 years ago. She had spent weeks watching the same classmate win the honor, bestowed daily to the stillest sleeper during her preschool's naptime. Olsen, 4 at the time, decided it was someone else's turn.
She mustered all her willpower to keep herself from moving a muscle.
For that day only, she was Zion Lutheran Prekindergarten's "Best Rester."
"I was so excited," Olsen, now 35, recalled of receiving the recognition. "I got to go over to Hans' Bakery and pick out a treat. I'll never forget standing in front of that display case."
It's those fond memories that brought Olsen to purchase the building out of foreclosure in 2013 and begin the task of restoring the Bakery to its former glory. After losing her husband in a drunken driving crash, Olsen was ready for a change in direction. She started a Facebook page announcing the revival of the iconic Bakery and within 48 hours she had over 2,000 people cheering her on.
On February, 22nd, 2014 Hans' Bakery reopened its doors to a sell out crowd. The original recipes, some of the original bakers, and many of the original customers were there to welcome them with open arms. Our tag line may be "History in the baking" but your encouragement and support have truly been, "History in the making!"