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Hard rolls in Wallingford, Ct area

Looking back at least 15 years or so, there was a bakery in Wallingford, Ct named the New York Bakery which made their own hard rolls, with or without seeds, which were the best I have ever had. They went out of business eventually, and were replaced with other reincarnations at the same location but the rolls they sold were never the same. On Sunday mornings there was a line out the door which I was happy to stand in to get a couple of bags of the rolls. Frequently they were fresh from the oven and still warm and I would devour two or three on the 20 minute drive home.
Does anyone remember this place who might have any idea of anyplace else that might still make such a quality product fresh and from scratch?

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  1. At that time it was owned by Phil and Jill Weinberger who also owned and operated Westville Bakery on Whalley Avenue in New Haven. Phil's mom worked for Leon's Bakery in Hamden about 50 years ago before buying the Westville bakery.
    Unfortunately the Weinbergers are gone from the bakery scene. Like all the kosher/Jewish bakeries in greater New Haven they could not compete with the frozen bakeoff operations at the chain supermarkets such as Stop and Shop (many of which are under kosher supervision). It is ironic, as Leon's Bakery (where I worked in the 1970s) was the originator of many of the frozen bakeoff supermarket items and supplier to Stop and Shop. So Mrs Weinberger senior quit Leon's to go into direct competition and eventually her children went out of business because of the prevalence of the supermarket kosher bakeoff goods developed by leons.

    To answer your question, there is nowhere within 60 miles of New Haven to get a good crusty hard roll such as you remember.

    5 Replies
    1. re: bagelman01

      Thanks for the reply bagelman01 even though I'm not happy with the result. You obviously know the bakery scene of old and I will give up my quest around this area.

      1. re: bagelman01

        I wept when the Westville Kosher Bakery finally closed. The rye breads, (and I had only just discovered corn rye!), the bialys, the kichel and oh yes, the hard rolls. I wasn't so wild about the babkas, But I'm just not a babka person. I guess I want butter as the fat or something. But hey, that bakery was WONDERFUL.

        There's a bakery in Devon that does a decent rye bread. Not quite as good as Westville's, but damn decent one, all things considered. Next time I'm there, I'll snag a hard roll and test it and report back.

        I need rye bread in the morning. I need rye bread toast, plain, or with butter, or with butter and (good tart) jam, or with butter and Marmite! NEED NEED NEED RYE BREAD. That and a cup of coffee good enough to drink black.

        I still remember that dark day when I showed up and the bakery was closed. Oh, oh, oh. So sad!

        1. re: Pipenta

          And is that bakery in Devon called Ambrosia? I drive there from Trumbull to buy European style breads, but do not care for their rolls.

          I also start the day with rye or pumpernickel toast and coffee, but with orange marmelade.

          1. re: bagelman01

            Yes, it is Ambrosia. Pity about the rolls. I haven't tried their desserts. They looked like baked goods of the sort that have pre-made shelf-stable fillings that come out of big plastic tubs. Though I might be wrong about that.

            But the rye breads are very good. I might try some marmalade, but I'm currently on a Polish food jag, and the Poles, they do some damn fine plum and cherry jams and it will be a long while before I am ready to try something else.

            Do they do raisin pump? I used to make a sandwich on raisin pump of proscuitto, cream cheese and tender young basil leaves on raisin pumpernickel.

            1. re: Pipenta

              Not sure about the raisin pump, as it's not a favorite of mine. All of their breads have a good European chew to them and a hearty inside.
              Have tried some of their cakes/cookies and danish and have been satisfied, especially their sugar free items bought for diabetics in the family.

      2. I believe the "famous" hard rolls were made by the New York Bakery prior to the Weinberger's ownership. I also recall those hard rolls and the fact that they also supplied them to restaurants in the area. I can recall frequenting the bakery in the mid to late '90s when I first moved to Wallingford. The original New York Bakery opened in 1954 and closed in 2000. It was owned by the Stolzman family. After it had been empty for about 3 years, the Weinberger's purchased it and opened for business around March of 2003 under the name "Jill's Bakery." It closed sometime in 2005. The Weinberger's sold it to Antonio Matias who had worked for the Weinberger's as a baker. Mr Matias renamed it Elizabeth's Bakery and opened for business in September of 2006. Elizabeth's Bakery is currently still in business at that location.

        1 Reply
        1. re: PerryM

          Perry,

          I remember the Stozman family who operated the NY Bakery for years. Back when I was working for Leon's in the late 70s and we developed our line of frozen bake off products, NY Bakery was purchasing our frozen unbaked ready to proof and bake hard rolls. Many of the Jewish bakeries in CT were buying this product from Leon's at that time as our huge production facility and economies of scale provided a quality product to the other bakeries at a price much cheaper than they coud produce.

          In 1978 the cost per frozen unbaked kosher ready to proof and bake hard rolls was 38 cents per dozen (5 case minimum). Our wholesale price on baked hard rolls delivered to delis and supermarkets throughout Connecticut was between 75 and 90 cents per dozen (depending on volume). Today an inferior NOT hard, hard roll retails at 69 cents in the supermarkets.

        2. Ya know, these rolls may not be as good as the good old days but at ShopRite in Derby in the bread section they get rolls form JJ Cassone out of NYC and they are much better than the instore baked hard rolls. At least when I heat these up the outside is crispy and the inside is somewhat doughy. They are sold in a 6 pack down in the bread aisle. Try them, they are not perfect but it's the best I can find right now.

          1 Reply
          1. re: javaandjazz

            Cassone's are great. Wish I could get them.

          2. NY Bakery had the best hard rolls! I live in Hawaii now, and bread just isn't the same as back east, but hard rolls back east aren't the same as NY Bakery's!