In the past, Untapped Cities has explored some of New York City’s oldest bakeries. This year, peppered with comments and suggestions from our readers, we decided to take a deeper dive into family-owned and operated NYC bakeries and patisserie spots that bring a sense of history and ethnic flavor to our neighborhoods throughout. Here are 21 old-world NYC bakeries in all five boroughs, organized from oldest to newest:
1. Caffe Roma in Little Italy
Caffe Roma has been family owned and operated since 1891. They are known for their cannolis, some of which are larger than a hot dog bun! Other dessert favorites are Amaretto Italian cheesecake, sfogliatella, pignoli cookies and homemade gelato. Caffe Roma is located at 385 Broome Street in Little Italy.
2. Ferrara Bakery & Cafe in Little Italy
Ferrara Bakery & Cafe was founded in 1892 by Antonio Ferrara as a place where he and his friends might go after the opera, to share a coffee and play their favorite card games. After his death, his nephew, Pietro Lepore, continued the business along with his wife. Today, Ferrara’s is still a family-owned bakery, now in its fifth generation, and still at the same location at 195 Grand Street in Little Italy.
3. Veniero’s Pasticceria and Cafe
Image by James and Karla Murray, from our previous spotlight on Veniero’s
Antonio Venerio was 15 years old when he arrived in New York from Italy. Six years later, in 1894, he opened Antonio Veniero Confections at the current location, 342 East 11th Street, with a billiard parlor next door and a saloon across the street. This was back when a beer sold for a nickel. Today, Veniero’s Pasticceria and Cafe has changed very little and still has many of the original details, including the hand-stamped tin ceilings, etched glass, and marble floors, and it is still owned and operated by the Veniero family.
4. Parisi Bakery in Little Italy
Joe Parisi opened Parisi Bakery at 198 Mott Street in 1903. Today, the Mott Street location is now Parisi Bakery Delicatessen, while the bakery is located at 290 Elizabeth Street. The basement at 198 Mott still contains the original brick oven. Joe ran the business until 1968, when Bob Parisi took the helm, and remained the head baker until 1992, when Mike Parisi took over, and is Parisi’s head baker today.
5. Caputo’s Bake Shop in Carroll Gardens
This Court Street staple has been open since 1904. Caputo’s Bake Shop is part of a string of Italian-American-owned shops along this stretch of Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens. Still family-owned, Caputo’s is helmed by James Caputo who bakes the specialty lard bread daily. Here you can also find their own homemade cheese, fresh baguettes, ciabatta sandwiches, and cured meats, in addition to cakes and cookies. Caputo’s Bake Shop is located at 329 Court Street.
6. Egidio Pastry, Arthur Avenue’s Little Italy
Opening its doors in 1912, Egidio Pastry Shop is located at Arthur Avenue’s Little Italy, 622 East 187th Street in the Bronx. Here you will find all of your old-fashioned Italian favorites like cream puffs, Napoleons, butter cookies and Italian ice. Oh, and don’t forget a cannoli. You will find several other Italian pastry shops, yet to be explored on this same street.
7. Savarese Italian Pastry Shoppe, Borough Park
Originally opened in 1918 by the Savarese family from Naples, Savarese Italian Pastry Shoppe was purchased in 1962 by the Giura family, with Mario Giura as master pastry chef baking custom cakes, cookies, cannoli and other Italian favorites. Savarese Italian Pastry Shoppe is located at 5922 New Utrecht Avenue in Borough Park, Brooklyn.
8. Poseidon Greek Bakery in Hell’s Kitchen
Poseidon Greek Bakery is another tip we received from a reader. This Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood favorite has been family owned and operated since 1923. They might possibly be the only authentic Greek bakery left in Manhattan. Favorites include handmade pastries like dill-flavored spanakopita, fruit strudels and baklava, with their phyllo dough made by hand. Poseidon Greek Bakery is located at 629 Ninth Avenue between 44th and 45th Streets.
9. Mazzola Bakery in Carroll Gardens
Mazzola Bakery is another of the local Italian bakeries famous for lard bread, which is a browned loaf filled with cured pork and provolone cheese. In addition, their baked goods include such Italian favorites as biscotti, sfogliatelle and even pizza dough to go. No indoor seating and cash only. Mazzola Bakery is located at 192 Union Street in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.
10. La Delice Pastry Shop
One of our readers introduced us to La Delice Pastry Shop, located at 372 Third Avenue at 27th Street. While the current owner, who took over La Delice in 1976, attended culinary school in Greece, you will find all manner of traditional biscotti, macaroons, cookies, pastries, danishes and muffins, in keeping with the original bakery that opened in 1935.
11. La Guli Pastry Shop in Astoria
Paolo Notaro arrived in New York from Palermo, Italy in 1920. He set about opening two Italian pastry shops in Manhattan with his brothers. In 1937 he decided to move to the “wilderness” and opened La Guli Pastry Shop in Queens. Today, LaGuli is run by Paolo’s son Rosario, who grew up living above the shop, and his granddaughter, Maria. The storefront and interior woodwork, shelves, and terrazzo floor remain original. LaGuli Pastry Shop is located at 29-15 Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria.
12. Circo’s Pastry Shop in Bushwick
The Circo family opened the original pastry shop in 1945. It was taken over by Nino Pierdpino and his two sons, both graduates of the Culinary Institute of America, and this brought with it a broader range of products. Italian and French pastries, cakes, and cookies can be found at Circo’s Pastry Shop, located at 312 Knickerbocker Avenue, Brooklyn.
13. Court Pastry Shop in Cobble Hill
Salvatore Zerilli was born on Henry Street in 1917. His parents passed away, and he and his sister were sent back to Sicily to live with relatives. When Salvatore was 15, his family in Brooklyn sent for him, and he began to work in his uncle’s bakery on Columbia Street. In 1948, Salvatore bought Court Pastry. Today, his two sons, Gasper and Vincent, own the shop, where family photos cover the walls. Court Pastry Shop is located at 198 Court Street in Cobble Hill. Cash only.
14. The Hungarian Pastry Shop in Morningside Heights
Located across the street from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Morningside Heights, The Hungarian Pastry Shop is a favorite of Columbia University students. Opened in 1961, with cozy indoor seating and pleasant outdoor seating, this family-run shop serves up old-world pastries like tarts, strudel, cream puffs, Viennese tortes, just to name a few favorites. Don’t miss the graffiti in the bathroom. The Hungarian Pasty Shop is located at 1030 Amsterdam Avenue at 111th Street.
15. Parisi Bakery in Astoria
Not to be confused with Parisi Bakery in Little Italy, Parisi Bros. Bakery opened in 1969 by Anthony (Tony) and Sebastian (Buster) Parisi, and was taken over by nephew, Joe, and his brother-in-law, Frank, in 2009. They are best known for their hand-rolled breads of all kinds, in addition to cakes and pastries. Parisi Bros. Bakery is located at 30-17 Broadway in Astoria.
16. Rimini Pastry Shop in Bensonhurst
John Zito opened Rimini Pastry Shop in 1973, five years after arriving in the United States from a small town outside Palermo, Italy. Here you will find traditional Italian cakes, cookies, breads, homemade gelato, Italian cheesecake, tiramisu and other Italian favorites. They are located at 6822 Bay Parkway in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.
17. Pasticceria Rocco in Greenwich Village
Rocco Generoso arrived in New York City in 1957. He took a job as a dishwasher at Zema’s Bakery on Bleecker Street, lived around the corner on Carmine Street, and attended Our Lady of Pompeii Church on the corner, with his family. In short order, he became an apprentice to the owner, Joe Zema, and in 1974, Rocco purchased the bakery. It has been family owned and operated ever since. Pasticceria Rocco is located at 243 Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, with a second location at 9402 4th Avenue in Bay Ridge.
18. Caffe Palermo, The Cannoli King in Little Italy
You might remember Caffe Palermo as the restaurant that hosts the annual San Gennaro Feast Cannoli Eating contest, which is coming up in September. The “Cannoli King” opened its doors forty-one years ago in 1975, and in addition to the cannoli, they are also known for many other Italian favorites, all baked by pastry chef, Baby John and his crew.
19. Moishe’s Kosher Bake Shop in East Village
Moishe Perl opened his kosher bakery four decades ago, specializing in neighborhood favorites such as babka, hamantash, strudel, challah, cakes and all kinds of cookies, including the Black & White, and rainbow cookies. Moishe’s Bake Shop sadly closed in 2019. It was located at 115 Second Avenue, at 7th Street in the East Village.
20. Andre’s Hungarian Bakery in Forest Hills
Andre’s Hungarian Bakery has been a family owned business since 1976. It was founded by Andre’s Mother, Rose, who brought with her Hungarian recipes for traditional handmade strudel, made the old-fashioned way, on a table and pulling by hand. Andre’s Hungarian Bakery is located at 100-28 Queens Boulevard, Forest Hills at 67th Road.
21. Villabate Alba in Bensonhurst
In 1979, the Alaimo family arrived in New York, and opened Villabate Alba, named after the town where they were from, in the northern region of the island of Sicily. Still family owned and operated, and now in their third generation at the shop, they sell traditional Sicilian pastries, cakes, cookies, and bread. Villabate Alba is located at 7001 18th Avenue in Brooklyn.
Looking for more bakeries? Check out 20 Bakeries in Harlem, a Hidden Patisserie in an office corridor in Tribeca, and our Top 10 Favorite Macaron Boutiques. You can contact the author at AFineLyne.