Bea’s Bakery annexed to the honored Mort’s Deli in Tarzana Square, has been a Jewish bakery staple in the Valley since 1968, and with the closure of the Beverlywood bakery on the West Side, probably the last of its kind in Los Angeles.

The new owners, seasoned baking legend Lenny Rosenberg and his wife, Adaeze Nwanonyiri, have expanded the huge selection of breads, cookies and cakes to include special recipes and ingredients inspired by Nwanonyiri’s Nigerian heritage.   

To stay at the forefront of the baking industry, they use ingredients from a variety of cultures like pandan from Southeast Asia, and have partnered with Manila-born commercial baker Grace Baral for a line of ube products that includes bagels, hamantaschen, challah bread, rugelach, ube rice cakes with coconut custard and a fluffy purple ube custard cake. Nwanonyiri has added her signature red velvet kola nut cupcakes from her homeland to the display cases that boast up to 200 different baked goods daily.  

Bea's Bakery

Bea’s Bakery (Michele Stueven)

A regular stop for celebrities like Adam Sandler, Smokey Robinson and Pat Benatar, Bea’s carries about a dozen different types of hamantaschen, rugelach and breads including onion rye, marble rye, wheat, white, french in small, medium and large, and a whole gluten-free line of breads, Linzer tarts, hamantaschen and cookies.  

“There were times when I was working here in the beginning and I would see people of different nationalities peering through the window, afraid to come in,” the sanguine Nwanonyiri tells L.A. Weekly during the morning rush. “One day, I was waiting for them to come back and I chased them outside and asked them why they didn’t come in.  Somewhat intimidated, they said, ‘We’re not Jewish.’ I told them, “no, everybody has a seat at the table here.”

The Yin to Nwanonyiri’s Yang, Rosenberg has been baking for 40 years and considers himself the Michael Jordan of baking. The Lenny of Lenny’s Deli on the West Side, which he bought when it was the famous Junior’s Deli on Westwood Boulevard, Rosenberg still uses the same recipes from the previous Bea’s owner who provided baked goods for Juniors.

Bea's Bakery

Bea’s Bakery Case (Michele Stueven)

“Aside from a few religious bakeries, there’s really nothing left like this on the West Side since they closed Beverlywood Bakery in Pico-Robertson a couple of years ago,” says Rosenberg. “You have to come to the Valley now.”

Always looking ahead, the husband and wife team plans to expand and is bringing their multicultural flair to TV, with It’s a Sweet World, a series set to debut in September and produced by Jewish Life Television. It will celebrate desserts from the world’s cultural and ethnic traditions through various baking recipes, like making the perfect tres leches for Cinco De Mayo or red velvet kola nut cupcakes for Juneteenth, intertwined with the couple’s perspectives on tradition, love and committing to success together.

“The show is a multicultural baking show where Lenny does the baking and I’m on the design and installation end of things, using different colors and flags from countries around the world,” says  Nwanonyiri, who infuses her interior design background into the series.  “The garments have vibrant colors and textures, and the recipes bond people together through different ingredients, rituals and nationalities. There’s room for everybody at our table.”

Bea's Bakery

Bea’s Bakery cakes (Michele Stueven)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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