The Unbelievable Story of Lyndell’s Bakery in Somerville, MA

The Intriguing Origins of Lyndell’s Bakery

In the heart of Somerville, Massachusetts, Lyndell’s Bakery is a testament to the enduring appeal of traditional, full-service American bakeries. The bakery’s roots trace back to 1887 when it was founded by Birger C. Lyndell, a Swedish immigrant who had arrived in the United States just seven years prior.

Lyndell, born in 1866, had initially settled in Newton, Massachusetts. However, in 1901, he relocated to Somerville, living just a block away from the original location of his bakery.

This proximity allowed Lyndell to immerse himself in the day-to-day operations of the bakery, ensuring that each loaf of bread and every pastry met his exacting standards.

A Tapestry of Ownership Transitions and Culinary Influences

Lyndell’s Bakery has weathered a few ownership transitions over its long history, bringing unique influences and adaptations. In 1934, the bakery was purchased by Eugene Klemm.

Klemm, who hailed from Germany, introduced a distinct German influence to the bakery’s recipes, adding a new dimension to its already diverse array of baked goods.

The bakery changed hands again in 1968 when Herman and Janet Kett bought it. Then, at the dawn of the new millennium, Gary Bagarella and Bill Galatis, former South Boston-based Watermark Donut Company executives, took over the reins.

Today, Bill Galatis is the sole owner of Lyndell’s Bakery, having bought out Bagarella’s stake in the early 2000s. Under Galatis’s stewardship, the bakery continues to thrive, preserving its rich heritage while adapting to its patrons’ changing tastes and preferences.

A Commitment to Quality and Community

Lyndell’s Bakery is more than just a business—it’s an integral part of the Somerville community. Every day, the bakery’s ovens produce a cornucopia of baked goods made from scratch using time-honored recipes.

At the end of each day, any unsold items are donated to the Little Sisters of the Poor, a testament to the bakery’s commitment to giving back to the community. This practice reduces food waste and ensures a broader audience can enjoy the bakery’s delicious creations.

The bakery’s commitment to quality extends to its cake decorating business. Lyndell’s Bakery has earned a reputation for its beautifully decorated cakes, with orders from former residents living as far away as Georgia. Despite the distance, these loyal customers still crave the unique flavors of Lyndell’s Bakery’s honeycomb bread—a testament to the bakery’s enduring appeal.

Adapting to Change While Preserving Tradition

The turn of the millennium brought a wave of changes to Lyndell’s Bakery. When Bill Galatis took over the bakery, there were concerns among patrons about potential changes to the bakery’s offerings. However, Galatis understood the importance of preserving the traditions that had made Lyndell’s a beloved local institution.

While he did introduce some changes—such as resuming Sunday operations, a practice that had been discontinued during World War II due to rationing—he also made a conscious effort to preserve the bakery’s classic recipes.

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He even restored the selling of cream-filled pastries during the summer, a much-missed treat among the bakery’s patrons.

Expansion Efforts and the Challenges Encountered

In its quest to reach a larger audience, Lyndell’s Bakery embarked on a series of expansion efforts. This led to the opening of additional locations in Cambridge, near Central Square, and in Boston’s North End.

However, these additional locations were unable to replicate the success of the original bakery and were eventually closed.

Despite these setbacks, the original Lyndell’s Bakery in Somerville remains a popular destination for locals and visitors, serving its delicious baked goods with the same dedication and passion it has shown for over a century.

Lyndell's Bakery
Lyndell’s Bakery John Phelan, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Recent Milestones and the Road Ahead

As of 2023, Lyndell’s Bakery is still going strong, having recently celebrated an impressive 135 years of operation. This milestone is a testament to the bakery’s resilience and ability to adapt to changing times while staying true to its roots.

Bill Galatis, the current owner, has reiterated his commitment to the bakery and the community it serves. He has expressed his intention to continue operating the bakery for a long time, ensuring that future Somerville residents can enjoy the bakery’s delectable offerings.

Lyndell’s Bakery’s enduring legacy is a testament to its commitment to quality, its dedication to the community, and its ability to adapt while preserving tradition. As it looks to the future, the bakery will remain a cherished part of Somerville’s culinary landscape for many more years.

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