By ethnicity, Mike Harrison is Polish, Italian, German and English — but not Hungarian at all. “It’s a coup that I’ve been accepted by the Hungarian community,” he says. Founded in 1966 by Hungarian refugee Sandor Farkas and his son Attila, Harrison took over the Ohio City shop in 2008. Although Sandor and Attila have both died (with Attila passing away in September), the shop’s three full-time employees and a rotating part-time student from Cleveland State University carry on by making its Old World pastries the way Sandor did back in Budapest. “All the recipes come down from him,” says Harrison, who recently put a few additions such as brownies and lemon squares on the menu. “[Otherwise] nothing’s changed.” It’s why even their best-selling pastry, the Hungarian kreme, commonly known as napoleons, works so well. Layered with vanilla, chocolate or pumpkin custard (in the fall) and whipped cream, the light squares of flaky pastry are delicately sweet and topped with a generous sprinkle of powdered sugar. “It’s not too rich, but it is rich,” says Harrison. “It hits on every cylinder.” 2700 Lorain Ave., Cleveland, 216-281-6200, farkaspastries.com
Our Pick: The Gerbeaud ($3) is named after French pastry chef Emil Gerbeaud, one of the Farkases’ rivals in Budapest. With a thick slab of dark chocolate over thin, alternating layers of dough, raspberry jam and walnuts, it has a decadent peanut-butter-and-jelly taste.