Behind the scenes of Martin's Potato Rolls

Pennsylvania company used by Shake Shack and more

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - You've seen Martin's Potato Rolls, and likely eaten them, whether you know it or not. 

"For us, it's been a challenge to get people to know the name Martin's Potato Rolls because they already buy them, they just didn't know what the name was," said Julie Martin, Social Media Manager for Martin's Famous Pastry Shoppe, Inc.  

Martin's family has been in the baking business for three generations, which means she has access to the secret potato roll recipe.

"I could access it. But I would not share it," she said with a laugh.

Her grandparents started Martin's in the 1950s, in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, when they turned their garage into a bakery and perfected their family recipes.

While they've produced everything from cakes to donuts over the years, their bread creations are what stuck.  

"It's what we do differently than other people, and we feel like it's what we make best," said Martin. 

Slowly they expanded, around the East Coast, the country, and eventually the world.

The international reception has been particularly surprising.

"When my dad was in the Middle East, he'd show up at a restaurant and the kitchen would empty because everyone's coming out trying to get selfies with Mr. Martin," said Julie Martin.

Martin's headquarters is in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, located at a fitting address: 1000 Potato Roll Lane.

"Most of them are made right here. We also do have a secondary bakery in Valdosta, Georgia," said Martin.  

From there, they go to places that would surprise you. 

Like Shake Shack, for instance, the iconic New York-based hamburger chain that's used Martin's Rolls from its inception.

Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer insists on using the rolls, because he likes the way they absorb juices, and he thinks they have the perfect size and softness for his burgers.    

"When they started using us, and started saying that they used us, it did give us some more name brand recognition," said Martin.

Today, the classic potato rolls used for burgers are their top seller, followed by hot dog buns.

Overall, they sell about a dozen bread products, and they test new recipes for years before selling them.

So, what's next?

"Well, we're always working on things, that's really all I can say," Martin said with a laugh. 

When you have generations, there's really no rush.

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Allentown, PA 18102




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