Romaner’s recipe for success
By Deb Silverthorn
One cup of love, three tablespoons of community and more than a dash of family memories in the kitchen are the not-so-secret ingredients for Ron “the baker” Romaner.
“Baking is an artistic outlet, I love it and I’m good at it,” said Romaner, whose ronthebaker.com website went live June 11. “What more could a person ask of a way to work?”
For Romaner’s seemingly endless varieties of dairy and pareve cookies and babkas, biscotti, scones, cakes, muffins, challahs and cheesecakes, orders are accepted until 11:59 p.m. each Wednesday for Friday pickup at his home. Also sold is Leslie’s Zip Code Honey, made from bees on his family’s property.
Romaner has been the man behind the Yiddishe Kup at the Schultz Rosenberg Campus of Akiba Yavneh Academy since it opened. In this gathering space for the community, the smell of 150-plus challahs baking on Friday mornings is a reminder that Shabbat is almost here.
With the campus temporarily closed to the public, Romaner still bakes in its Dallas kosher-certified kitchen each Thursday and packs up orders to take to his North Dallas home. He also freezes and ships most items throughout the United States.
The New Jersey native recalls family vacations in Montreal, Canada as the source of his love of baking; there he learned by spending time with his Bubbie what made recipes work.
In 1985, after graduating from Rutgers University, Romaner fulfilled a longtime dream of making aliyah to Israel. After serving in the Israel Defense Forces, he began working at the Jerusalem café Cheesecake, ultimately becoming the owner.
It was at Cheesecake that he first met his future wife, Jaynie Schultz, who was then traveling the country, when she stopped in for a bite. The two married and, shortly after son Ben was born, sold the restaurant and returned to Dallas in the mid-‘90s, where he took ownership of the Preston Center restaurant Vice Versa from 1995 to 1998.
“Being close to mishpacha is the one argument Zionism has no response for,” said Romaner, the son of Ruth Romaner and Leon Romaner, both of blessed memory. He has a stepmother, Carla Romaner of Coconut Creek, Florida and a sister Elana of Ridgefield Park, New Jersey. He is also the son-in-law of Howard and Leslie Schultz, of blessed memory.
As Ron and Jaynie’s family grew to six, with Dalya, Adina and Micah in addition to Ben, Romaner sold the restaurant. When the Schultz Rosenberg campus opened in 2005, he was a proud parent at the campus and also ready to return to baking for those beyond his inner circle.
“With some challot, you take a bite with motzi and you’re done. Ron’s challah is a part of the meal,” said Sharon Balaban, a Dallas native who met Romaner while she too was living in Israel and reconnecting with her childhood friend Jaynie. As a mom of children with food allergies, Balaban appreciated Romaner’s ability to accommodate her family’s needs and still have challah. “If you have to grab and go, that’s fine, but if you have time to schmooze with Ron, it’s a great way to start Shabbat.”
Janet Baum is also a longtime customer and first met Romaner in Israel while traveling more than 30 years ago. “Ron has a real passion for baking, and he pays attention to every detail,” she said. When pressed to choose a favorite item, ultimately Romaner’s cheesecake wins out.
Romaner is thrilled to see the faces of customers in the Akiba Yavneh Academy and Shaare Tefilla communities as they pick up their orders, visiting while socially distancing.
“It’s great seeing longtime customers and also new clients who are just finding me,” he said. “It’s an honor to help people bring their meals together, especially for Shabbat, with that special something.”
For product details and ordering, visit ronthebaker.com.