By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jul 27, 2023 at 1:03 PM

It’s been 42 years since Mila’s European Bakery opened to the public, selling specialties like Russian sourdough bread. 

But second-generation operator, Anna Kofman Bakalinsky says the need to step away from the increasingly stressful work of operating the small bakery was the impetus for the decision to quietly close the retail shop at 239 N. Main St. in Thiensville.

“It was an extremely difficult decision,” notes Bakalinsky, who took over the business after working alongside her mother for years, “But managing a small business has gotten to be so tough. Consumers’ tastes have changed and prices for ingredients have continued to rise. The stress of it all was jeopardizing both my health and my family.”

Anna Bakalinsky
Anna Bakalinsky

Nonetheless, Bakalinsky notes, she’s indebted to the customers who have supported the family bakery over the years.  She expressed her thanks in a message on social media, which said: 

To our cherished and devoted customers,

After a remarkable journey that commenced in 1981 when my parents founded this bakery, we have arrived at the momentous juncture where change is inevitable. Over the years we have encountered various challenges and the recent times have been especially trying. After careful consideration, we have concluded that it is time to close Mila’s European Bakery.

We want to express our deepest gratitude to our dedicated bakery staff, past and present. Their unwavering passion and support have been the true essence of our delectable treats. It is their commitment that has made this journey an extraordinary one. To our exceptional customers, our hearts swell with appreciation for your unwavering support and loyalty throughout the 42-year legacy of Mila’s European bakery. Your presence has enriched our lives and we have had the privilege of getting to know so many wonderful people along the way. The laughter we shared, the memories we created and even the tears we shed together will forever remain etched in our hearts. Your smiles and satisfaction have been the sweetest rewards, fueling our dedication to the craft of baking.

While we say farewell to Mila’s, we do so with fond memories of the joy we derived from serving you all. The relationships we cultivated and the sense of community we built have been the most cherished aspects of this endeavor. Though this chapter may be drawing to a close, the love for baking and the bonds we forged with you will live on. The spirit of Mila’s European Bakery will continue to thrive in the memories we share.

As we navigate this transition, we extend our heartfelt gratitude for being an integral part of our legacy. Your unwavering support and loyalty have made this journey unforgettable, and for that, we will be forever grateful. While parting is never easy, we want to leave you with our sincere appreciation and love. You have touched our lives in ways beyond measure, and I will miss you all.

With heartfelt gratitude and love,
Anna Bakalinsky

thank you note
One of many thank you notes from a happy Mila's customer

42 years of European bakery

Mila’s European Bakery was founded by Mila Kofman, a Moscow native who immigrated to the U.S. in 1979 with her husband Mark and two small children. Kofman had earned her degree in food technology and managed a staff of 400 at a state-owned bakery in Moscow for 12 years. 

She brought that wealth of knowledge, a pride in her culture and a strong passion for baking with her to America. In fact, just two years after arriving in America, she and her husband opened a small retail bakery where she sold Russian sourdough bread and other baked goods.

Over the years, the bakery evolved, moving into a strip mall in Thiensville where Mila’s daughter Anna Kofman Bakalinsky took the helm. She expanded the bakery’s offerings to include modern offerings including custom cakes and cookies, along with keto-friendly offerings while growing the wholesale arm of the business to include clients including Kroger and Outpost Natural Foods Cooperative.

Assets for sale

Bakalinsky is currently entertaining offers for the purchase of a variety of large-scale bakery equipment including mixers, sheeters and other items. The 9,000 square foot bakery is also available for lease. Serious inquiries can be directed to her by email at

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.