Bakery fans around the St. Louis area, and judging by reaction to on the subject--around the country, may have reason to celebrate.
Pratzel's which until earlier this year, operated as a commercial operation out of in Creve Coeur with the bakery in nearby Olivette, is back open filling wholesale orders and next day requests out of rehabbed facilities in the Dielmann Industrial Park.
Jon Mills, a documentary filmmaker, bought the rights to the Pratzel brand and recipes. He told Patch Friday that his team, which includes roughly 15 former Pratzel's employees, has been cranking out the wholesale and next-day orders for the last five weeks.
Operating under the name Pratzel's Eastgate Bakery, an homage to the company's former roots in University City, Mills said more and more people are wondering about when the commercial storefront will open. "We are baking," he said, working toward an August opening out of the actual baking facility in Olivette.
Mills had previously said he hoped to open in April or May but has found in some respects it is easier to close something than start it, saying he's "trying to fill the shoes of something" he never saw firsthand.
He does have Ronnie Pratzel on standby as a consultant. Pratzel is recovering from hip surgery which hindered his work with the family business and was part of the reason for the decision to close it earlier this year.
In addition to the extensive rehab work done to the bakery facility, there are bureaucratic challenges, and construction work being done on Dielmann Industrial Drive.
Pratzel described Mills' approach as methodical and said "he's got a significant task at hand," but adds, "I think he's coming along just fine."
Mills has been reminded of one thing since he took on this challenge. "There are a lot of people who missed the products," he said.