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Old, traditional bakeries/pastry shops that still exist

I also posted this on the Manhattan board, so hopefully I will get some interesting responses here or there.

In any case, I am located in the culinary wasteland of SE Pennsylvania, but I often visit friends located all over the greater NY metropolitan area, so I did some searching of old threads regarding bakeries and pastry shops in NY, including lots of references to long-gone neighborhood standbys etc.

I was hoping to get a list together of really traditional old style bakeries that still exist, so that I might get a chance to visit them before they vanish completely. I am interested in a range encompassing both bread bakerys and pastry shops that have been there forever.
The kind of place that is not fancy, not trendy, but has that feeling of no-nonsense history started long before the current range of places with "artisanal" breads and gourmet offerings.
Granted, there is nothing wrong from more recent shops with excellent quality wares, but I wanted to focus on the ancient Italian, German, Eastern European, Jewish or other bakeries that still exist out of the myriad of neighborhood shops that used to be out there.

Thanks for your suggestions and I look forward to my trips into the city as it is sometimes painful to be stuck out here in the middle of nowhere PA.

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  1. For Italian in Brooklyn, you'll find Court St Patry, Caputos and Monteleone/Cammareri all fit that bill. All within 3 blocks of each other in Carroll Gardens.

    1. astoria has a few good choices as well. joe and rose's on 31st and ditmars makes some fine offerings, as well as an amazing, minimalist sicilian pizza. i really like the bread at parisi's on 31/b'way too

      1. where in SE penn? im from philly orig. now in queens for 7 years. im sure you been to termini's hehe

        1 Reply
        1. re: chefjellynow

          I'm actually near Pottstown (not sure if that is quite "south" east penn yet) Actually I lived in Philly for a year and miss the easy access to Sarcones, Isgro, etc... but let's not get started about that on this board!
          Thanks to the suggestions so far, I will take notes and make it a point to stop at places as time permits and depending on where in the city my travels take me.

        2. A must go for you would be Andre's Hungarian, in Forest Hills on Queens Blvd, in Queens, best rugelach and strudel anywhere, (and it's not cheap), and then stop over to Knish Nosh, another classic neighborhood place.

          2 Replies
          1. re: janie

            i second Andre's. Totally old school and a nostaligia trip for us hungarian descendents whose grandmas are no longer around.

            the rugelach and strduel are great. also the chocolate kugelopf and the dobos torte if they have it.

            1. re: missmasala

              I third Andre's. You can smell the buttery goodness from outside of the shop.

          2. The most suitable place for what you seek has to be La Guli [Italian] Pastry in Astoria.
            If you walk in there and NOT feel transported back in time, I don't know what to tell you. Check out the overall decor first, and then enjoy the many pastries they have to offer.
            I find their quality to be VERY good and my tastebuds tell me that they definitely adhere to tradition. Best days for freshness IMO, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Just my experience.

            Look ---> http://laguli.com/default.aspx

            Court Street Pastry shop in Brooklyn -- best sfogliatelle on the planet. The actual bricks and mortar don't transport me back in time like La Guli does, but the *quality* there is second to none. Definitely worth the trip.

            1. For Jewish style bread: Ostrovitsky Heimishe Bakery in Midwood Brooklyn. See next message for links.

              10 Replies
              1. re: bobjbkln


                Ostrovitsky Bakery
                1124 Ave J, Brooklyn, NY 11230

                Ostrovitsky Coffee Shop and Bakery
                3715 14th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11218

                1. re: bobjbkln

                  Second Ostrovitsky (bonus-you're right near DiFara's) and there's also Presser's at 1720 Ave M-no atmosphere, but some great chocolate babka and other pastry. Not open Friday afternoon and Saturday.

                  1. re: David W

                    I'd have to 'third' Ostrovitsky's

                    1. re: Tay

                      Hijack: what are your favorite things to get at Ostrovitsky's?

                      1. re: Budino

                        I'm very conventional. Their two pound Rye Bread with seeds (unsliced).

                        1. re: bobjbkln

                          Bobjbkln –

                          Unsliced any reason why just curious? I can eat a whole loaf of bakery fresh rye right out of the bag. Half the fun is watching that metal doo-hickey slice a loaf in one fell swoop.

                          1. re: MShapiro

                            Mmmm, if I ever make it to Ostrovitsky that sounds like what I would end up buying as well. Good rye is impossible to find in my area. I like unsliced as well so I can slice it however the mood strikes. I am intrigued by one fell swoop loaf slicing doo-hickey you mention though.

                            1. re: MShapiro

                              I'm not sure what bob's reasons are, but for me, leaving it unsliced allows less air to get to the surface of the loaf, thus keeping it fresher, longer. We often get a whole loaf and an additional 1/4 sliced for 'immediate' eating. :-}. Of course, you can always get it sliced and immediately zip-loc and freeze it in smaller batches.

                              1. re: MShapiro

                                Reminds me of the time when I was 7 when my grandmother bought a Jewish corn bread from the bakery (that used to be) down the block from my mother's house on Long Island and put it in the back seat of the car with me as we drove to her apartment for me to spend the night. She couldn't figure out why the bag was half-empty by the time we got to the Bronx.

                                1. re: Shayna Madel

                                  Long ago, our go-to bakery was Lichtman's, a wonderful Jewish-Hungarian bakery on the corner of Amsterdam and 86th. When we bought their raisin challah, we always had to buy two: one for dinner, and one for the walk home. :)

                  2. For great Greek pastry and bread still baked in a wood burning oven, head to Ya Ya's bakery in Astoria. I think they also make some of the best spanikopita in the 'hood. It's under the train on 31st street just north of 30th Ave. Along 30th ave there are several italian bakeries. I am partial to specific things at each one, but all worth a look. Frank's (good for casatta and ciabatta) Terazzi's- (nice tarts, mini pastries and excellent espresso) Gian Piero's (love their cookies and sfolliatelle)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: quentinC

                      Leske's Bakery in Bay Ridge
                      7612 5th Avenue 718-680-2323
                      Danish and Norweigan
                      And the best black and white cookie ever.

                    2. I believe Nita's European Bakery is still there in Sunnyside. We got our birthday cakes there when I was a kid (and I'm in my mid 30s by now).

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Miss Needle

                        How about D'Aquila on Francis Lewis? Love their cannoli and pastries in general.

                      2. I don't think this bakery qualifies as old but Bonnelle Bakery in Forest Hills is fantastic and definitely has an old-fashioned feel. The inside is well-worn but the product is so good I don't mind. French in style and run by two South Asian sisters. Their stone fruit tarts (peach or pear) when in season are amazing. They do all baking on the premise except for the breads.

                        1. If you ever head over to the Bronx go to Little Italy, Arthur Ave. There is Egidio's, Delillo's, Gino's, Artuso's, Palombo's, Morrone's which are more oriented towards pastries and cakes and then you have Madonia Bros. and Addeo bakeries which are more geared to bread making.

                          On Allerton Ave. you have Sal and Dom's Pastry shop which is personally my favorite. The best cannolis and rainbow cookies. Heading towards the Morris Park neighborhood, there is another Morrone's pastry shop and Enrico's pastry shop. .

                          1. Holy Smokes! Thanks for all the great suggestions that really cover such a wide range. I know I will be doing some work in the Astoria area, so thank you for the Greek and Italian suggestions there, and I will be in Brooklyn visiting with access to a car, so I should be able to search some places out. Given the huge territory covered, I have my work cut out for me!
                            Re: JoeyCannoli, with a moniker like that you gotta know your Italian pastries! Thanks for the tips, although I am not sure if I will ever make it to the Bronx in the near future.

                            I am hard pressed to even find a loaf of Italian bread with any flavor around my area.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: klieglight2

                              Ditto on Joey's suggestions for the Bronx (we like De Lillo's the most for pastry, Addeo's for lard bread, and Madonia's for provolone bread).

                              Out in Whitestone on 150th Street & 13th Ave., there's Stork's, an old local bakery that makes their own chocolate and has outstanding German-style cookies, breads, and pastries.

                              1. re: Striver

                                I just got some of the pistachio biscotti from De Lillo's - so wonderful with my morning coffee!

                            2. Also for Ancient Italian, try Napoli Bakery on Metropolitan Ave. Can't get more ancient than that (although Tedone Latticini across the street is certainly older and the last of its kind). Get one of the huge ROUND lard breads at Napoli and a fresh or smoked mozzerella across the street.

                              Napoli Bakery
                              616 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

                              Tedone Latticini
                              597 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: bobjbkln

                                Napoli has just had a bit of face lift and expansion which I hope reflects on their chances for hanging around a while more.

                                1. re: wew

                                  I hope you are right. Just hope Napoli doesn't get gentrified like the rest of Williamsburg. We used to get our rye breads at Moishe's on Wythe St. until it turned into a yuppie café and then disappeared. And we were so disappointed with the new fancier Cammereri on Court Street in Carroll Gardens where their small lard bread now sells for $5 instead of $2.00. (It's been a while since we've been to Cammereri Bros. in Bath Beach which also fit into the old fashioned category and probably still is reasonably priced). As long as Napoli still sells their large round lard bread at $5 or under, we'll be happy.

                              2. Italian bread bakery in Whitestone section of Queens Here's a blurb:

                                Irene and Sal's Bakery
                                14-35 150th St., 718-746-3393

                                When they say Italian roles and bread are baked on the premises here, they aren't kidding. Show up at the right time of day, and you might see 100-pound bags of flour being hauled up from the storeroom right next to the kitchen/shop.

                                And yes someone mentioned:

                                D'Aquila Pastry Shop
                                33-31 Francis Lewis Blvd., Bayside, Queens
                                not far from the Whitestone one above but you prob. need a car

                                Definitely will transport you back in time and THE BEST CANNOLI EVER. All their baked goods are fab. Used to live around the corner from them until recently and on holidays, you can't get in there. Loved living around corner -- I got my picks first!

                                and last:
                                Stork’s Pastry
                                12-42 150th St., Whitestone
                                The best pastry selection in Queens; their homemade chocolate is without equal as are the cinnamon jelly donuts.

                                Definitely will transport you back in time. Enjoy!!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: maresy

                                  I second Storks! Love that cinnamon jelly donut, & their assorted cookies.

                                  1. re: monalisawoman

                                    Oxford Bake Shop in Ozone Park, Queens is an old neighborhood style bakery. 104-01 Liberty Ave.

                                2. I am biased but my personal favorite Italian baker is Nuccio's on Ave. U near Mcdonald ave. It has been a bakery since as long as my mother can remember (50+ years). Changed names a time or two but it is a good solid neighborhood bakery. Excellent bread, basic pastries and cookies (Elegante down the street is better for fancy cookies most of the time though), great canoli's too!

                                  Support your local bakers!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: dhs

                                    I agree 100% about supporting neighborhood bakeries. If we don't, they won't survive and eventually the next Gen will think of Costco as their local bakery!

                                  2. St. Honore's Bakery in Astoria. This is a French bakery with amazing apple tarts. They are on Ditmars Avenue @ 35th Street. I lived in Astoria for ten years and always had to stand on a long line at holiday time for their pies and tarts. The pecan pies are fabulous. Definitely Rose and Joe's for bread.

                                    1. Just wanted to thank everyone who took the time to contribute. I had a feeling there might be a lot of interesting places still out there. I am sure I won't be able to visit all the suggestions since I only get to the city once in a while on business, but I appreciate the help. If I had local bakers to support, I would, but there isn't much here in PA between Lancaster and Philadelphia. I agree with Tay and dhs, if people don't patronize the smaller "old style" bakeries etc. eventually our choices might indeed be limited to whats available at the local mega-superdupermart store.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: klieglight2

                                        I think at least in the NYC metro area where many don't have cars, they are dependent on their local merchants for many of their food needs, so in this area there's probably a better chance of them surviving and being appreciated. In the suburbs, it's hard, people get into their cars, go to one in all shopping centers, and end up getting things according to the most having it all, taking it all. I remember years ago when I moved to NY and my family would visit me, they were amazed that I would go to several stores just to do my shopping for dinner that evening. They couldn't conceive of going to the fruit market for your veggies and fruits, and then going to the bakery for your bread, and then going to the fish market, and then going to get olives for example somewhere else, or a dessert, in yet, another bakery..they thought it was ludicrous---why not just go to the big supermarket and get everything? That is the general suburban way---and that is why so many cities that have really become strip malls, in particular Miami, for example, has NO decent bakeries, not even one--their idea of a bakery is a french chain called Paul, which is uniformly lousy, in a mall. All the old time Miami Beach Jewish style bakeries are gone, and the new ones are pretty lousy. How could such a densly populated area such as that not have a multitude of specialty bakeries, and gourmet shops??? But, they don't. New York does, and we are very very lucky in the outer boroughs to actually live a pretty old fashioned life, where many many people do really value the great old places, and let's hope that this doesn't change. In fact, you see many new places trying to style themselves in a classic retro way, but it just ain't the same. It's one of the things I really appreciate about NY, the incredible diversity of food, and that's why I love chowhound!

                                        1. re: janie

                                          Of course, this "old-fashioned" way of life is duplicated time and again in newer immigrant neighborhoods across New York. Jackson Heights isn't full of old European bakeries and specialty shops, but I have 20 years of experience here and some of the Indian pastry places on 74th Street have been around that long. Also, Las Americas, the Colombian bakery/pastry shop on 82nd Street looked old when I arrived. It makes Colombian fare and usually has a line almost out the door. "La Nueva" on 37th Ave in the upper 80's opened in the 90's as "La nueva rioplatense" because it's owned by Armenian Uruguayans, and they used to own La Uruguaya pastry shops before they returned to Uruguay in a 2 year experiment and then came back. They now have lots of Colombian breads mixed with the Uruguayan/Argentine goodies, but this neighborhood had many Argentines before the current groups arrived. We also have lots of butcher shops catering to different Latin American and South Asian clienteles. The absence of a car is what makes this style of life possible, or at least probable. However, some of the old places survive because people who have moved out of the neighborhood to more suburban places come back to shop and eat.

                                          1. re: JH Jill

                                            Yes, you are right, new immigrants settling in larger numbers in particular areas really control the supply and demand of shops opening, or ones there surviving. But, for example as neighborhoods change as did Rego Park, which once catered to Ashkenazi Jews changed to Uzbek and Sephardic Israelis you saw the older styled Kosher places disappear, because there wasn't enough clientele for them anymore. Same story for lots of other areas, like Ozone Park, and Italian, replaced by Guyanese places, etc..there are few really good Italian places left. It's an interesting consideration for someone who wants to open up a place, especially in Queens, since many of the neighborhoods will only bear enough business for certain ethnicities. Austin Street in Forest Hills is a dichotomy of so many intersections, it's a shame there isn't better food there overall.

                                      2. If you want a really good bakery for Jewish bread and cookies, you can try Teena's in Canarsie. For good Italian bread and pastries you can go to Alliota(sp?) and Morietti(sp?) on avenue N and 45th street.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: dmjuli

                                          Riverdale has two good Jewish bakeries - Mother's on 235th & Johnson for babka and old school cakes (they've been there forever); Greuenbaum's up at Skyview on Riverdale Ave. for kosher baked good - their cookies are particularly good, as are their breads (originally from Washington Heights, and going back a ways).

                                          1. re: Striver

                                            Holterman's on Staten Island is good, as is the College Bakery on Court Street in Brooklyn. The latter has a great Boston cream pie, the former very good cupcakes.

                                            1. re: BMartin

                                              sorry to say, college bakery has been gone lo these three years or so. i never found their quality to be great, but it was fabulous for kid's b-day cupcakes and things like that. it's definitely missed around here.

                                              1. re: BMartin

                                                Holterman's has been around forever. I too relly like their cupcakes. Actually all of their 'plainer' stuff, EG: turnovers, muffins, are good. Not so much their cakes and pies.

                                          2. In Williamsburg
                                            Fortunato Brothers
                                            289 Manhattan Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11211
                                            for pastries and gelato, great fun during the holiday for all the beautiful marzipan (which is available year-round)

                                            Peter Pan Bakery
                                            727 Manhattan Ave
                                            Brooklyn, NY 11211
                                            good donuts

                                            Syrena Bakery
                                            207 Norman Ave. (at Humboldt St.), Greenpoint, Brooklyn

                                            1. Brooklyn still boats some of the finest,oldest, most authentic Italian bakeries in existence.

                                              For great Golden Raisin Semolina Bread with Fennel ( the bread served at Henry's End), stop by Caputo's on Court Street. Their crusty focaccia, Tuscan bread for Bruschetta, and small specialty breads, taralli, and rolls are all excellent. Avoid the cookies and pastries.

                                              Court Street Pastry, also on Court Street, is an old world neighborhood bakery, family run and staffed by friendly, helpful neighborhood girls. Their selections of traditional Italian sweets is large, and everything is very authentic and delicious...and very fresh.

                                              I find their Sfogliatelle to be the best, and their Almond Biscotti the most authentic this side of the Atlantic. Specialties at holiday time are incredible, and the master baker will explain them if he has the time. The traditional Sicilian Grain Pie available on weekends in different sizes is divine. Excellent, very fresh Cannoli as well. I also love their Sesame cookies and their Pignoli cookies as well.

                                              Freshly made Italian Ices are an added bonus. Prices are very reasonable.

                                              The very best is Villabate in Bensonhurst. Recently moves to a new space on the same street, it loses none of its festive glory. Like walking into the finest Pasticcerria in Palermo. Glorious colors, flavors, delights or the eye and palate. A truly authentic Sicilian masterpiece right in the middle of Brooklyn.

                                              The variety is astounding, something for everyone from large, presentation masterpieces to individual jewel like pastries, everything in tempting. Cassata Siciliana in every size from 4 servings to wedding size for 100 are magnificent and delicious.

                                              Villabate also boasts the best gelato in town, freshly made all day long and served up the authentic Italian way, in cups, cones, or in brioches.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Fleur

                                                I'll have to add a Bravo! to Fleur for her lovingly descriptive picture of Villabate. I don't get there often but when I do, I'm always bowled over by the place.