The King of Rugelach, Alvin Lee Smalls, Turns 80 on April 29th ~ National Rugelach Day!




Image courtesy Lee Lee’s Pastry Shop

We call him Mr. Lee, but his name is Alvin Lee Smalls, and he is a true Harlem institution, known for decades as The King of Rugelach. This April 29th, National Rugelach Day, Mr. Lee turns 80 years young!

Alvin Lee Smalls, Lee Lee’s Pastry Shop. Image © Christopher Payne/Esto, New York Times.

Time has flown by since, in 1964, when he first read a recipe for the pastry known as Rugelach, and decided to give it a try. Deciding it was worth a rework, he eliminated, inserted and reinserted until he came up with what he considered to be the perfect Rugelach. Many agree.

The Rugelach can be purchased in apricot, raspberry or chocolate. And that’s not all ~ depending on the day or time of day, patrons will find an assortment of other baked goods from danish to cakes, coffee and cookies.

Image courtesy Lee Lee’s Pastry Shop

Follow Lee Lee’s Pastry Shop on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Wish Mr. Lee a Very happy Birthday ~ The King of Rugelach would love to hear your Lee Lee’s Rugelach story.

Lee Lee’s Baked Goods is located at 283 West 118th Street, just east of Frederick Douglass Boulevard, Harlem. Yes, he delivers.

Did you know that the National Trust for Historic Preservation included Lee Lee’s Bake Shop as part of their twenty-five recipients of ‘Black Historic Small Restaurants’ Grant Program in 2021.