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DRTW Eats: Great breads you can take home
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
DENVILLE -- After 24 years as a successful wholesale bakery and distribution company, Anthony & Sons Bakery is now offering retail customers something to get excited about.
For those customers who know and for those who have yet to find out, chances are, the basket of warm tasty bread that was served at the restaurant table came from Anthony & Sons Bakery.
"We have always sold wholesale to the restaurants in New Jersey, and people always asked our restaurant customers, where did they get the bread from? When they found out, they would ask us if we had a store so that they could purchase the bread, and we didn't for so long, but now we listened," owner Baldo Dattolo said.
In 1984, in a 3,000-square-foot space, Anthony Dattolo and his sons Baldo and Joseph started a family-owned wholesale baking company. Anthony and Baldo were in charge of baking the breads, while Joseph was in quest of restaurant, hotel and food service customers.
It didn't take long for their product to catch on, Baldo said. Soon production grew, as well as the customer base, and the need to expand was inevitable. Today Anthony & Sons bakes more than 600 bread items; its distribution company services more than 3,000 customers; and its operation runs out of a 65,000-square-foot warehouse outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment.
Building up clientele and growing the business was always a priority, but in the back of his mind and always his intention, Baldo said, was to open a retail store.
"We wanted the store to be not just about the bread but everything that goes along with the bread -- the ultimate antipasto, a whole food experience," Baldo said. "I also wanted everything in the store to reflect my Italian heritage and the foods I remember as a kid and what I grew up with. So we are selling many imported food items from Italy."
Just a month ago, Anthony, Baldo and Joseph's dream came true when they launched the opening of Anthony & Sons Bakery Store.
This Italian specialty store is filled with a magnificent selection of breads, muffins and bakery items. Also included is a large selection of imported olives, fresh homemade mozzarella, imported cheeses from Italy, imported dry Italian sausage, a deli case with fresh homemade prepared foods (chef and kitchen on the premises), soups, homemade sauces and imported Italian cold cuts.
As for the grocery products, there are more than 70 different cuts of pastas, plus homemade packaged pastas to go, imported Italian chocolates, shelves of Italian imported grocery products and so much more.
The bread selections can differ daily. Some available options are the artisan breads, semolinas, baguettes, dinner rolls, panels, country breads, ciabattas, Tuscan breads, pumpernickel and more. There are packaged breads such as thick-cut egg bread (for French toast), country white, whole grain and the shop's own line of kosher Jewish rye bread called Sidney's. In fact, according to Baldo, the whole operation is pareve kosher certified.
"We have hot bread all day long," Baldo said.
Some of the prepared foods that are available --all homemade and prepared daily -- are rice balls, fresh roasted peppers, daily pasta offerings, broccoli rabe with garlic and oil, meatballs, homemade soups, chicken parmigiana, breaded artichoke milano, Maryland crab cakes (chef Bruno Spano's specialty), eggplant, other daily specials and more.
Spano was born in Italy and was trained at the culinary school in Venice. He has an impressive resume and said he has a true love for cooking.
"I have been a chef for over 25 years and love to experiment and be creative with the food. I am very passionate about what I do," Spano said.
Anthony expressed his happiness knowing that Spano, the family's good friend for more than 20 years, is doing the cooking for the store, because he is sure that the food will be great. He also expressed how proud he is of the way the store has turned out and all the hard work his sons have put into it.
"Fantastic! My sons did a great job with the store, and I am so proud of them," Anthony said.
"When my dad saw the store, he literally had tears in his eyes," Baldo said.
Anthony & Sons also offers catering service and will work with the customer to create specialty dishes made to order.
The location at the end of Luger Road is slightly off the beaten path, but definitely worth the visit. The store is bright and spacious, and the Italian music playing throughout really adds to the whole Italian theme.
But the best attraction by far is the back wall of glass that leads to the bread-making factory. Customers get a firsthand look at all of the breads rolling along the conveyer belts as they go from ovens to their packaging. It definitely is a treat to watch.
Baldo said there are plans to expand the store and add a café and seating area for sit-down service. He hopes it will come to fruition around the spring.