Former deli owner Helene Bakke dies

Helene Bakke, the former co-owner of Nordic Delicacies, died April 14 at age 84.

Bakke is survived by her daughter Arlene Rutuelo, sons John Bakke and Steven Bakke, 12 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Bakke and Rutuelo opened the popular Scandinavian deli in 1987. It closed in 2015.

Helene Bakke and Arlene Rutuelo. Photos courtesy of Arlene Rutuelo

“My mom proudly served the Bay Ridge community for over 30 years, sharing the Norwegian culture using food and delicious chocolate, but more especially she loved all her customers,” said Rutuelo, co-chair of the Norwegian Day Parade Committee. “I thank everyone for the outpouring of love towards my family, as we all remember mom. Nordic Deli has been closed for nine years already, but the memories are still alive.”

Photo courtesy of Arlene Rutuelo

“Helene alongside her daughter Arlene delighted locals and those far beyond with their flaky kringles, tasty fish puddings and perfectly aged ribbe,” said family friend Victoria Hofmo, president of the Scandinavian East Coast Museum. “Whenever you went to Nordic you could be sure of Helene’s bright mischievous smile, an enticing aroma of cardamom wafting from the kitchen and that the television was faithfully tuned in to Fox News.”

The visitation will take place Sunday from 2 to 6 p.m. at Clavin Funeral Home. The funeral service will be held Monday at 11 a.m. in Bethlehem Lutheran Church.

Photos courtesy of Arlene Rutuelo

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