On The Silly Side by Jimmy Del Ponte
(The opinions and views expressed in the commentaries of The Somerville News belong solely to the authors of those commentaries and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Somerville News, its staff or publishers.)
Remember how we used to roll our eyes when our parents told us how they could see five movies, buy candy, soda and popcorn, ride the trolleys all day and still come home with change of a quarter? Well, let’s congratulate ourselves because we have officially become our parents.
An online search tells us that The Apollo Cake Company opened in 1929 at 16 Garfield St. in Somerville. It used to cost a nickel to swim at the Foss Park pool, and a nickel for a brownie at the Apollo Cake Co. Apollo Cake closed in the late 70’s – early 80’s (we’re not sure) but not before just about every kid in the ‘Ville enjoyed their wide variety of delicious, frosted, creamy raisiny, freshly baked treats.
Many of my friends have memories and stories about Apollo Cake. “We used to run across the highway from Foss Park and get the brownie seconds, two for a quarter. Sometimes, when we were playing at Foss, that was breakfast and lunch.” You could get a whole bag of hermits for a dollar.
Another friend recalls, “We would get dime bags of broken brownies every Saturday morning! We would sacrifice our cartoons for brownies – often! Miss those days! My favorites were those huge cupcakes that had the big center filled with cream…YUM!!!! We also loved the Swiss Roll!’ We would sometimes pool our money to get one of those and share it among my friends. It got very messy but so worth it!”
A buddy of mine tells me that his aunt worked at Apollo and would bring home lots of cupcakes and other goodies. This is my favorite Apollo Cake story: “My father would get what he called a sweet tooth and have one of us ride our bike down to get a couple of the chocolate roll cakes. They were the only sweets he ever really liked. I liked it best unrolled and eaten flat. After, I’d lick off the cream. The funny thing was that we couldn’t go off the street on our bikes, but all of a sudden going to get the cakes was no longer a dangerous ride. I miss my Dad, and I miss the cake as well!”
One friend attributes his addiction to carrot cake to Apollo Cake. Their spice cakes were not too shabby either. They featured an item called “twins.” It was a two pack of Whoopee Pies. Now I ask you, what’s better than Whoopee Pies?
Another place we used to go to was Russell’s Donuts which was across from Highland Road near the railroad tracks. We could smell the donuts baking while we were playing at Lexington Park. I got a lot of delicious donuts from Russell’s and I miss it. I swear, I can still smell those huge honey dip donuts baking at Russell’s.
Somerville has a vast history of great bakeries. Some have lasted decades and some have come and gone. The Apollo Cake Company in East Somerville provided many ‘Villens with wonderful (and delicious) memories.
Mark your calendar for the big Holiday in The ‘Ville show at The Somerville Theatre on Saturday November 26. Tickets are available at the Somerville Theatre box office or by calling Rick Saunders, music director for Somerville schools, at 617-625-660 extension 6143.