NYC Food Adventures: Yonah Schimmel’s Knish Bakery

Notes from a New York City Foodie Trip
blueberry knish

What the heck is a Knish?

I’ll be honest, before planning this trip to New York City, I had never heard of knishes, and had no idea how to pronounce them (the K is not silent). But while researching the neighborhood around Katz’s Deli, I came across Yonah Schimmel’s Knish Bakery and I knew we had to stop and try a knish.

Yonah Schimmel’s has been on this tiny store on Houston St. (pronounced “HOW-ston”) for over a hundred years. Schimmel, a Romanian rabbi, started selling knishes from a cart in Coney Island back in the 1890’s, and eventually was able to open a brick and mortar store in Manhattan. The shop is now owned by his grand-nephew.

Knishes are baked dumplings, consisting of a thin flour dough enveloping a filling, often mashed potatoes with onions, but it may also include ground meats. They seem similar to pierogis, but as the latter are usually boiled or fried, the texture is different. There are also sweet, fruit knishes. As we had just had lunch at Katz’s, and as we had no method to reheat a savory knish back at our hotel, we got two sweet ones to eat as dessert later.

I got the blueberry cream cheese knish ($8.50). It was exactly what it sounded like: a thin pastry surrounding slightly sweetened cream cheese and cooked blueberries. It was very rich, not very sweet and very tasty. A very grown up dessert – and one knish is certainly enough for two people. Mike got the apple strudel knish ($8.50) and that was less successful. It was basically apple pie filling in that same, thin dough, but it wasn’t sweet enough for his liking. He was terribly disappointed.

If we went back to NYC, I’d be curious to try to savory knishes, and I’d get a blueberry one again. Yonah Schimmel’s Knish Bakery does ship nationwide through Gold Belly. A 6-pack of knishes will cost you $80, shipping included.

Yonah Schimmel's Knish Bakery
137 E. Houston Street
New York, NY 10002
(212) 477-2858
MON - SUN 11AM - 6PM

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