Chef David Burke

Dixie Lee Bakery in Keansburg was already famous for its classic pastries, Black & White cookies, cakes for all occasions and breads, and now it’s gained a new celebrity status. Chef David Burke announced on Thursday that he is the new owner of the Bayshore’s legendary 85-year-old bakery.

Burke, a pastry chef who trained at the prestigious École Lenôtre Pastry School in Plaisir, France, is fulfilling another lifelong dream of his by purchasing the favorite sweet spot.

“A local bakery offers much more than delicious pastries, doughnuts and breads to the community,” Burke said. “It offers a place to meet your neighbors, provides jobs and supports the local economy. It helps us connect and celebrate. A delicious baked good from a local bakery provides a simple way to celebrate and brings a smile to everyone’s face.”

With the bakery’s historic importance within the community in mind, Burke plans to tweak its name and keep how it has been known to regulars intact. It will be called David Burke’s Dixie Lee Bakery.

Burke said the bakery will play a pivotal role in his growing empire of restaurants that includes seven in New Jersey and a total of 15 worldwide. He plans to keep the bakery’s retail counter service that offers traditional pastries and cakes for all occasions.

Later, he will use it to supply wholesale baked goods to his restaurants and other corporate accounts in the New Jersey and New York City areas.

The previous owners of the bakery, Mark Onulak and Allison Loori, will stay on as managing partners, and the existing 13 employees will also remain.

The bakery’s new website and social media channels will be announced shortly.

Burke is a local. He is a Hazlet native and now resides in Atlantic Highlands — both towns within the Bayshore. He is riding the wave of a renewed interest in the Bayshore communities, both commercially and residentially. He said he believes the Bayshore, which includes towns along the Raritan and Sandy Hook bays, is on track for continued interest and growth.

Burke explained that, as he learns more about the retail and wholesale bakery business, he will gradually make slight improvements within the next year, such as a coffee business with counter service, pastries, breakfast and lunch sandwiches, salads and other grab-n-go sundries.

“The bakery is old school and has a great tradition within the community,” Burke said. “My grandfather took my mother there when she was a little girl to buy pastries.”

In fact, he is keeping the bakery within his family traditions. David Burke’s Dixie Lee Bakery will bake the cake for his son’s wedding taking place at the end of this month.

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