De Bakery windmill on Van Riebeek Avenue in Edenvale

This Is the East: The Windmill of Van Riebeek Avenue

Fifth in an occasional blog series called This Is the East, featuring hidden spots on Johannesburg’s East Rand.

On a busy stretch of Van Riebeek Avenue in Edenvale, amidst hair braiding salons and car stereo places and dusty old bookshops, is an authentic, nearly full-sized Dutch wooden windmill. Inside the windmill is a Dutch pancake house and below it is the best Dutch bakery in Joburg.

De Bakery windmill on Van Riebeek Avenue in Edenvale
De Backery and De Molen Pancake House in Edenvale.

De Backery was founded by a Dutch family in 1963 — originally a small, single-story bakery. The place became popular over the years and continued to expand, with people coming from all over Joburg for its bread and pies and pastries.

De Backery’s entrance on Van Riebeek Avenue.
The whole place is filled with charming Dutchy things. I don’t know who this guy is but I admire his tiny waist.
Famous Backery pies.

In the 1990s De Backery’s owners looked into commissioning a neon sign shaped like a windmill but eventually decided to build an actual windmill instead — a 3/4-sized replica of the Zeldenrust windmill in Gronigen, Holland. That’s when De Molen (“the Windmill”) Pancake House was born, inside the windmill on top of De Backery. The vanes even turn when there are no customers on the balcony.

Tables inside the molen/windmill.

Breakfast on the Windmill

Breakfast on a windmill — what more do I need to say? We sat on the balcony overlooking the busy street, feeling the breeze and eating pancakes and pies and drinking coffee. It was a perfect East Rand Saturday morning and I wish I could have stayed there forever.

I had the Dutch apple pancake with bacon, topped with honey.
Kevin’s breakfast: steak pie and chips with gravy. Also delicious.

De Backery is a worth a trip to Edenvale, no matter where you live. Go this Saturday and get there early before the best pastries sell out.

Even the bill is charming.

De Backery is at 47 Van Riebeek Avenue, Edenvale.

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  • Reply Ilze March 12, 2019 at 10:28 am

    This looks great. Thank you for the post.

  • Reply dizzylexa March 12, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    Have been going there for years but lately seemed to also have forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder. Somehow I thought the windmill was there way before the 1990’s.

  • Reply the #1 Itinerary March 12, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    Great post 😁

  • Reply Peggy Laws March 12, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    It is a great place to visit and buy. In the depths of winter we go there for their stunning Pea Soup – a meal on it’s own!!

    • Reply 2summers March 12, 2019 at 2:58 pm

      You’re the second person to tell me about the pea soup – need to go back in winter.

      • Reply Corinne Jones March 12, 2019 at 10:40 pm

        The pea-soup is Mark’s Oma’s recipe. The best ever!

  • Reply Mark Verhoogt March 12, 2019 at 10:26 pm

    Thank you for the write up. I hope all our customers feel the same about our Bakery and Restaurant. Hopefully next time you are in the area we can meet.

    • Reply 2summers March 13, 2019 at 6:16 am

      Hi Mark, thanks so much for the comment. Incidentally I met your son and his wife at a concert a few weeks ago and that’s what motivated me to go back to the restaurant (I had been once before but not for years) and write this post.

  • Reply Jacki Botha March 12, 2019 at 11:23 pm

    The best ever!!!! To many favourites to mention… but nothing beats their white custard slice!
    Congrats Mark, family and team, a well deserved write up.
    Will have to come up in winter next time to have some of Ouma’s soup.
    Cheers to many more happy years xx

    • Reply 2summers March 13, 2019 at 6:16 am

      I’m definitely going back for soup and custard slice.

  • Reply autumnashbough March 13, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    French fries and gravy! Just add some cheese curds and you’ll have poutine, which is the greatest, most unhealthy food ever.

    • Reply 2summers March 13, 2019 at 3:05 pm

      Hmm, I need to find out if anyone makes that in Joburg.

      • Reply amanda April 23, 2019 at 10:25 am

        Can you please let me know if you find fresh cheese curd? I have also been searching. The northeastern Iowan in me would really love to know. I’ve nearly resolved to just learn to make it myself.

        • Reply 2summers April 23, 2019 at 10:31 am

          Hmm, this is something I haven’t come across but I will keep an eye out!

  • Reply Jeroen April 4, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    Darn, how did I miss this while living there? That looks like a true pancake, meaning thin and plate-wide, and one is a complete meal. The bacon/sweet combinations are unexpectedly good!

    • Reply 2summers April 4, 2019 at 4:06 pm

      I was actually wondering if you’d discovered it! I didn’t learn about it until around 2014/2015. We’ll have to go the next time you’re here 🙂

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