Employee of the Week: Lili Fable

Ninety three years since they opened their doors to residents in Hell’s Kitchen, Poseidon Bakery is still a neighborhood favorite. Poseidon Bakery is currently owned by Lili Fable, who has managed the bakery for the past 53 years.

Poseidon Bakery owner Lili Fable(Age 77) (Nicholas Marrero/Baruch College)

“We’re a family operated business. I’m the current owner and work with my son Paul. My grandchildren come out to help for the holidays. We’re in the fifth generation,” said Lili.

Poseidon Bakery provides a variety of handmade Greek pastries. Baklava is their most well-known pastry. Although Lili specified that what they’re especially known for is the Phyllo dough. “We actually hand-make it the way they did a 1,000 years ago. Two men walking around, two foot tables, pulling dough till its paper thin. And you can practically see through it. We make that by hand every day. I guess it takes about 8 hours a day. It’s really quite special. Every major chef in the city area has come in to see us, make the Phyllo Dough,” said Lili.

Poseidon’s wide selection of ethnic pastries has served as neighborhood favorites. “Well I think Greek pastry is quite unique. It’s very different. It’s not like French, it’s not like Italian. Everything is nuts and honey. This dough that we make by hand is called Phyllo. It’s quite unique and so we’re quite different from any other bakery,” said Lili.

Lili said for quite some time, Poseidon Bakery has been the only Greek Bakery in Manhattan.. “Many of our Greek families moved out in the 70’s. Moved out to Astoria. And if you go there it’s like “Little Greece”. Many restaurants, many bakeries. Many of the families who live here now live there,” she said.

Lili acknowledged how vital the family aspect of the business was important in her years growing up. “Well my father in law was a Greek. He married my husband’s mother who was Austrian-Italian. He carried on his father’s business. And so we just, my husband and his brother and sister grew up in it. They both became part of it. They have since retired. My husband passed away. And my son and I have continued,” she said.

Being that they don’t make bread, Lili does not have to start her day early compared to other bakeries. So a regular day at work runs differently and focused into other needs. “I come down in a very decent hour. My son is usually here at 7:30am. So we always have something to do. Yesterday I had to make Baklava. We were running low on that. Then I made about 4 or 5 of those. So we don’t usually have to make the same thing every day. We make what we’ve run out of,” she said.

Lili said over the years she has seen different ethnic groups such as the Irish and Italians open up their own businesses between the 70’s and 80’s only to have them being shut down in a quick period of time.

Although Lili and her family have managed to attract customers both old and new with their wide range of ethnic food. “Every year we have a fabulous international food festival. And everyone in the city comes to that. Half a million people in two days. We are here doing what people want to have. And that doesn’t change,” she said.

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