Manhasset mourned when Steiner’s Pastry Shop closed after 39 years in 2018. It wasn’t for lack of business, said owner Franz Steiner; he lost his lease. The Austrian-born baker spent the next year looking for a new location and found it in a defunct deli on Main Street in Port Washington.
If the new shop lacks some of the old shop’s vintage charm, the layout affords customers the opportunity to see Steiner and his associates at work as they turn out an array of Old World pastries that are rare on Long Island.
Steiner grew up in Werfen, a town outside of Salzburg that can be glimpsed in "The Sound of Music" scene where Julie Andrews teaches the von Trapp children to sing "Do-Re-Mi." His father was a baker, and he never considered another career. "Back then, you lived right above the store," he told Newsday in 2012. "And when you grew up, you came downstairs and worked in it."
Eventually Steiner and his wife left Austria for the United States. In 1979, he bought what for 18 years had been Otto's Bakery. He introduced a number of Austrian specialties such as almond horns, their elliptical, fruit-filled cousins, almond boats, vanilla-hazelnut crescent cookies and Viennese apple strudel which, in apple season, he will make with his own hand-stretched dough. The shop’s signature item is one he learned from his predecessor, Otto: “meltaway” coffee cake, a flat, deceptively plain confection that packs a sweet, tender punch.
Steiner's also makes terrific doughnuts, tender, full-flavored and not too sweet. They are available plain or filled with black raspberry preserves imported from Europe.
Steiner’s is closed Monday and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every other day except Sunday when it closes at 1 p.m. Closing times are provisional, though, and can be earlier if the shop sells out.
Steiner’s Pastry Shop is at 148 Main St., Port Washington, 516-612-9730, steinerspastryshop.wixsite.com