Christine Boerner will close the doors of the 30-year-old family-owned Karl’s Quality Bakery at the end of March (photo by Jim Poulin).

It was a good run, but after 30 years and thousands upon thousands of from-scratch baked goods sold, the doors at Karl’s Quality Bakery will close on March 31.

Karl Boerner, a native of Germany, began his apprenticeship as a baker in 1958. He immigrated to America in 1976 and worked for a while in New Orleans, Hawaii and California, before moving his family to Sunnyslope in 1993. He opened Karl’s in September 1994 at the southeast corner of 7th Avenue and Dunlap. Together, with his wife Stefanie, they grew their business, and raised a family.

The bakery has been a staple for many in the Sunnyslope area. And while it’s said that “bread is life,” the European style bakery served not only fresh baked breads, but became known for Boerner’s doughnuts, as well as a wide variety of cakes and cookies, pastries, and seasonal specialty treats.

In 2014, Karl’s daughter, Christine, took over the bakery and moved it to its current spot on Central and Dunlap avenues.

Despite growing up in her family’s bakery, Christine resisted the profession. “I never wanted to work in a kitchen. Ever,” she recalled. But one morning over Christmas break, her dad woke her up saying, “You are old enough to see the top of the oven. You need to help.” She was 12. She continued throughout her years at Sunnyslope High School, but she really didn’t understand the alchemy of what she was doing, she just did as her dad directed, as an extension of him.

When she moved out, with her sights set on studying architecture, she needed a job and found that where she was most comfortable was in the kitchen, “because I’d been trained for six years,” she laughed. So, it was off to culinary school, where she began to understand the theory behind the baking. After completing her apprenticeship and working in Switzerland, she came home to help with the family business, briefly opening The Baker’s Daughter, offering chocolates alongside Karl’s baked goods, before purchasing the business and moving to the Central Avenue location. But after 10 years, the time has come to move on.

“It’s a culmination of a lot of things,” she said. Choking back emotions, she explained that running a business is challenging in itself, added to that the pandemic, family obligations, changes in the industry – it can be a heavy load to carry. “You put so much effort and so much love into something…but you can’t do it if you don’t love it.”

Residents will not be left completely bereft of a local baker. Dawn Hernandez will soon open Dawn’s NY Baker in the spot. While an opening date is not yet confirmed, she is aiming for a mid-April opening.

Hernandez moved to the state with her family in 1997 and, much like Christine, she grew up in her family’s Arizona bakery business. She will bring those 22 years of experience to the Sunnyslope space.

“I’m excited to be in the Phoenix area and bring a New York family bakery into the community,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez says that she is still working on the menu, but the focus will be on classic New York offerings, including items such as cannolis, doughnuts, pastries and other goodies. The company has not yet set up a website or social media presence, but neighbors can watch the space at 111 E. Dunlap, Suite 13, for developments.

While Christine has mixed emotions as she closes the doors at Karl’s for the last time, she plans to stay in Sunnyslope, and her next chapter is yet to be written — but she is not done baking yet, she says. Fans can follow her at

In the meantime, she has a simple message of gratitude for the community, “Auf Wiedersehen and thank you for 30 wonderful years!”


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