Response to Butter Gems

by Don Randolph


I was born in Orange in 1948. There was a Butter Gem bakery on North Lincoln Avenue in Chicago that was owned by the Ernst family. It operated under "Ernst's Butter Gems". My father purchased this bakery in 1949 and operated it under the same name until his health failed in 1956. He sold the bakery to Don Stonier of NE Pennsylvania and Florida. The name was changed to Stonier's Butter Gems and eventually they made a deal with Pepperidge Farm to produce Butter Gems for them exclusively. When Pepperidge decided that Butter Gems did not fit their marketing plans any longer the bakery was forced out of business. At one time there were several Butter Gem bakeries. They were located in Silver Spring, MD, Newark, NJ, Jacksonville, FL, Chicago, Philadelphia PA, and I believe there was one in Seattle and one in Cincinnati for a brief period. When the Ernst family sold the Chicago bakery to my father they retired to Chehalis, WA.

It brings back a lot of memories growing up in Chicago and being in the bakery. There was nothing better than eating a hot Butter Gem right out of the ovens. My father kept the building when he sold the bakery to Stonier and we would visit the bakery from our home in southern Indiana a few times each year. I would still take BGs right from the baking rack and eat several of them while my father talked business with Mr. Stonier.

I believe that my mother may still have the original recipe for Butter Gems.

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