Rose Heimann’s reputation for outstanding traditional Hungarian strudel - including poppyseed, cherry, cheese, and apple - dates back to Queens in 1976 where she opened up a bakery named for her son, Andre. She worked behind the counter until she turned eighty-nine in 2008, and retired, leaving the business to be run by Andre.
Andre was born in Hungary, but his parents fled the country in 1949 when he was only one, moving first to South America before arriving in New York in 1962. For ten years, his mom worked behind the counter at Mrs. Herbst’s, the iconic Hungarian cafe and pastry shop on Third Avenue. In 1976, Rose realized her own dream and opened a bakery in Queens. Andre joined his mother after his dad passed away in 1981. He had to learn the business from the ground up having never spent any real time in the pastry shop. In 2004, after his mom had passed away, Andre decided to open a second location in Manhattan, originally called Andre’s Hungarian Bakery but later changed to Budapest Cafe, where traditional Hungarian recipes are made each day.
Originally planned as a row of six five-store brownstone buildings, what was built in 1881 for developer James Frame of 107 East 70th Street, was a row of eight four-story brownstone tenements with stores. Remarkably, all eight buildings remain, including number 1631 which retains its original sheet metal cornice and brownstone window enframements, painted all over in red paint. The buildings were designed by architect Henry J. Dudley, who served for a time as the city’s Superintendent of Buildings. In its early years the storefront was home to Maurice Hartman’s jewelry store, which reported a robbery of some diamonds belonging to Wolfgang Lang in 1891. From the 1940s to the 60s this was the location of J. Blum, a paint and wallpaper store. In the 1970s, it housed a branch of local chain Betsy’s fabrics.