Lost Tables | Remembering Pratzel’s Bakery

By Harley Hammermann

Ever wondered what happened to that restaurant you once loved and have memories of dining at with your family and friends? We did! There is an amazing website called Lost Tables, dedicated to celebrating the restaurants of our past. We are partnering with the site’s creator Harley Hammerman and celebrating these wonderful stories. Hammerman and his wife Marlene are members of Shaare Emeth, and she is past president of the National Council of Jewish Women of St. Louis.   Visit Lost Tables on Facebook

Max Pratzel and his younger brother Nathan were born in Mieroszów, Poland towards the end of the nineteenth century. Max’s gravestone at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City lists his birth year as 1887; Nathan’s is listed as 1891. However, Max’s draft registration cards list his birth date as September 1, 1885. Nathan lists his birth year as 1889 on his WWI card and his birth date as December 17, 1888 on his WWII card. It’s probably safe to say that neither brother brought along a birth certificate when they immigrated to the United States.

In 1913 (or 1914) Max Pratzel, who had been a baker in Poland, entered this fray, opening a bakery on High Street (possibly 1102), at Carr.

In the early 1900s there was a Jewish quarter in north St. Louis, bounded by Sixth and Eighteenth Streets. There were some sixteen Yiddish bakeries in the district, including Adam Knebel, at 1400 Biddle, H. Goldberg, at Fifteenth and O’Fallon, J. Komens, at Fourteenth and Biddle, Harry Senturia, at 1014 North Eleventh, David Senturia, at 819 Carr, Paul Brehm, at 2417 North Fifteenth, Henry Cohen, at 814 Biddle, William Ellerbrock, at 1444 North Thirteenth, and Moritz Lewis, at 1102 High.

In 1908, there was a bread war in the district; bread of all kinds was selling at less than cost. Sixteen-cent loaves of bread were selling for eight cents, 10-cent loaves for four-cents, five-cent loaves at two for five cents, and Vienna rolls and pumpernickel were passing over the counter at half price and less.


As the Jewish population migrated westward, so did the Pratzels. By 1916, Max Pratzel and his brother Nathan had opened Pratzel Brothers Bakery at 2839 Dickson.

In 1914, Max Pratzel married 17-year-old Sarah Hilch, who had immigrated to the United States from Russia in 1905. By 1919, the couple had three children – Loretta (Yetta), Alvin and Nathan (Nate) – and they all lived above the bakery at 2839 Dickson. Nathan Pratzel also lived above the bakery, first by himself and then with his wife Tillie, who he married in 1919. As Nathan and Tillie’s family grew, they eventually moved to a home of their own at 5818 Roosevelt Place.

Pratzel’s Bakery moved westward to 5615 Easton Avenue in 1928, and then westward again in 1931, to 611 Eastgate Avenue in University City. Max and Sarah Pratzel, and their three children, lived in an apartment over the bakery, at 609a Eastgate. This would be Max Pratzel’s final home.

Visit LostTables.com to read the complete history of Pratzel’s.