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Grodinski's is particularly noted for its challah, a yeast bread eaten on the Sabbath, and for its babka, a cake made from a variant of yeast dough with a sweet filling traditionally eaten on the Sabbath. Other popular products include bagels and cookies.
In 1888 (although this date is still used in all publicity material and for Centenary celebrations, research at Public Records Office in Kew has indicated that they arrived in 1890) Harris and Judith Grodzinski, bakers by trade, joined many members of the Jewish community in the Russian Empire in migrating westward from Voranava -- once a shtetl near Lida, currently Belarus and establishing themselves in the East End of London. There they hired kosher ovens and set out baking bilkelekh, thereby beginning a business that would grow from a trading barrow to a full-scale bakery at 31 Fieldgate Street, over which they lived.
Harris and Judith were followed in the mid-1890s by Harris nephew, Chaim Elyah Grodzinski (later changed his name to Hyam Hyams and went into the cinema business with his sons Phil & Sid) who had married Judith's sister Jessie.
Hyam Grodzinski was a businessman. His bakery at 20 Bedford Street (renamed after World War I to Cavell Street) thrived whereas Harris and Judith were not doing so well. The two families swapped premises (including accommodation above) for a number of years until the Fieldgate Street bakery significantly improved.
The bakery passed through two generations, managed successively by Harry and Judith's son Abraham (Abie) Grodzinski, who inherited the bakery at 18 on his father's untimely death at age 54; by Abie's widow, Bertha Jeidel, who had immigrated from Pfungstadt, Germany, and took over the business when Abie succumbed to the Spanish flu pandemic; and by their eldest children, Harry and Ruby Grodzinski, who took up the reins in 1930.
Grods prospered under Harry's and Ruby's tenure, beginning with the opening of a second location at 91 Dunsmure Road, Stamford Hill, to which baking was moved. A decade later, the bakery had expanded to six locations and even the original 31 Fieldgate Street location's demise in a 29 December 1940 German air raid could not halt expansion. By the mid-1960s Grodzinski was the largest kosher bakery in Europe, preparing both fine pastries and a range of bread, and adding to their retail business an advancing wholesale operation distributed through British retailers and department stores such as Selfridges, Marks & Spencer and Harrods.
In 2014 the bakery continued to have multiple locations in England.
In 1999 the first Grodzinski bakery was opened in Toronto, continuing the family baking tradition into fourth and fifth generations. When it opened, the Edgware branch in London was managed by Tova Grodzinski, the great-great-granddaughter of the founders. In November 2003, during a 75th-anniversary celebration of the opening of the oldest surviving branch shop at 91 Dunsmure Road, a collection of historic photos and papers was unveiled, collected by current owner Jonathan Grodzinski.
In 2014 the bakery had two Toronto locations, one on Bathurst Street and the other in Thornhill.
- Sax, David (12 August 2002). "Last Bites: In times of sorrow, pass the babka". New York Times. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
- Shaw, Rob (11 September 2004). "Challah". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
- Stewart, Victoria (10 June 2014). "London's best Filled bagels". Evening Standard. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
- Henry, Michele (24 December 2014). "Day 24: Pecan Tea Cookies from Grodzinski Bakery". Toronto Star. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
- "The Bagel". The Guardian. 5 August 1998. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
- Official website of J. Grodzinski and Daughters (London - Edgware, Stamford Hill)
- Official website of M & D Grodzinski (London - Golders Green, Hendon)
- Official website of Grodzinski Bakery (Toronto)
- 75 years of baking, from somethingjewish.co.uk
- The Grodzinsky/Grodzenchik Family from Lida, Belarus c.1785.