For more than 60 years, New Yorkers in search of Caribbean beef patties and fruit cakes soaked in rum have found their way to Allan’s. In Brooklyn, on a stretch of Flatbush lined with takeout counters selling roti, oxtail, and jerk, the offspring of Allan and Gloria Smith run a bakery that’s become known as a one-stop shop for Caribbean staples: hard dough bread, patties stuffed with saltfish, coconut rolls, and doubles.
Its third-generation owners steered the business through the pandemic, when customers lined up for baked goods outdoors in masks, and opened a bar next door last October. This fall, they are expanding the company outside of Brooklyn for the first time with a location at 116B Allen Street, near Stanton Street.
Unlike the original, which spans three street addresses along Nostrand Avenue, the Lower East Side shop is 400 square feet. The menu will be limited to the most popular items in Brooklyn, including Caribbean beef patties, coconut drops, codfish balls, bake and saltfish, and currant rolls. The approach: “More depth than breadth,” says Christian Smith, the grandson of the bakery’s founders.
Beyond the staples, there’s talk of selling ice cream cakes and black cakes, the rum-soaked fruit cakes that are eaten around Christmas. All of the baked goods at the shop will be made in Brooklyn.
Allan and Gloria Smith, the bakery’s founders, started Allan’s out of a station wagon in Brooklyn. They opened a storefront at 425 Saratoga Avenue, near Eastern Parkway, in 1961, and later moved to their longtime home at 1109 Nostrand Avenue, near Maple Street. Customers still crowd the counter for custom cakes and Trinidadian doubles, which are sold on weekends. The bakery is almost as old as the West Indian Day Parade.