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The East Side German tradition of Buffalo's best coffee cake

Martin Gressmann came to Buffalo from Germany in 1893, and after two years as an apprentice, opened his own bakery at 1753 Genesee St., a couple blocks west of Bailey.

His business grew through his involvement in the surrounding tight-knit East Side German community. He was a member of civic and social groups like Maennerchor Bavaria and the Schuhplattler Verein and St. Gerard's Roman Catholic Church.

He’d been a baker for more than 50 years when he died in 1946, and his daughters took over the shop.

Long after Gressmann’s death, people came from all over Western New York for what one Williamsville restaurant owner called Buffalo’s best coffee cake.

The pastry with the caramel topping originated in the shop remained in demand well into the 1970s.

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