5 Lili Fable
Poseidon Bakery 9th Ave - 44th/45th Ave
ourth generation bakers Lili and Paul Fable have been serving Greek desserts and their world-famous phyllo for longer than most of us have been alive. They’ve been in the HK neighborhood since 1923 – originally by the Port Authority, moving to their current spot on 9th Avenue in 1952. And they’re not going anywhere, they say, insisting they’ll be a staple in the HK community for as long as the yeast rises. Demetrios Anagnostou arrived in New York from the island of Corfu and with the help of his son, Michael, the Poseidon Bakery was founded in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen. Their secret recipes have been handed down from generation to generation, to Anthony, who sadly passed in 2013, and his wife Lili, and to their son, Paul, who continue to run the family business from the same spot.
“The tradition is in honor of St Basil, who would commission a woman to bake a cake with gold coins so they would not only be nourished but pleasantly surprised with the leftovers!” Lili has lived in Hell’s Kitchen her entire life, growing up on 42nd St and met Anthony, the love of her life, on the playground at 43rd St. The first Christmas gift she can remember receiving was a princess doll. She wasn’t even sure she’d get it. That doll and the symbol of it still brings a smile to her face. These days, it’s the pleasure of giving to her grandchildren that brings her most pleasure. She has three sons, Anthony, Mark, and Paul, and the next generation seems destined to take over the family ovens. We may see Paul’s son Jordan behind that 9th Ave counter before too long.
Above (clockwise from top): Behind the counter in the old days; Lili and Anthony’s wedding day; Lili and her son Paul run the bakery today.
Come the holidays this year, they’ll bringing out their traditional Christopsomo cake, with its symbolic cross on the top. Made with yeast, eggs, butter, mastica and maclepi, more than 500 of them are shipped throughout the US and beyond during the festive season. The vasilopita is the New Year cake, baked with a coin to bestow prosperity and good luck to the receiver. However, they never place a penny on top; usually it’s baked with a nickel, dime or quarter instead. Some customers even bring in their own trinket or golden dollar to add the personal touch.
This tradition is in honor of the great Greek St Basil, who was known for giving to the poor. But, to preserve their dignity, he would commission a woman to bake the cake with gold coins so they would not only be nourished but pleasantly surprised with the leftovers! The first piece is cut in remembrance of Christ, the second for the Virgin Mary, the third St Basil, and the other pieces are for the rest of the family. The eldest gets first dibs. INTERVIEW BY CHRIS AMBROSIO