In and around Rochester, NY
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About this list
This listing is not intended to be definitive. These are bakeries that I shop at because they have the best baked goods. If you know of good bakeries that are not listed here, share your favorites with me. Send me an e-mail message at Max Lent .
If you have a question about Rochester, NY area bakeries, post it to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rochesterrestaurants/.
All telephone numbers are in the 585 area code unless otherwise noted.
Business directory of bakeries.
My favorite bakeries
Brownsteins Deli & Bakery. 442-2770. 1862 Monroe Ave, Rochester, NY 14618.
Yes it is possible to buy a good bagel in Rochester. If you have ever had a real NYC bagel you probably won't like the bagels from super markets, especially the airy light made daily poofs from Wegmans. NYC bagel aficionados like their bagels heavy and chewy and they like them fresh. Brownsteins comes about as close as one can get to a real bagel this far away from NYC. They come pretty close. All of the varieties have the right flavors, mouth feel, chewyness, and solidity. While you a there you may as well pick up some hand carved lox, cream cheese, new pickles, a Dr. Brown's soda (I like the Creme Soda), to go with your New York Times. As a side note, BJ's Wholesale Club has the best pricing on Lox.
Martusciello Bakery. 247-0510. 2280 Lyell Avenue, Rochester, NY 14606.
If you were visiting Italy and found a bakery as good as Martusciello's you would feel as though the bakery itself was worth the trip. It amazes me that the Wegman's supermarket across the street even bothered to put in a bakery. I can't imagine a real Italian being seen walking out of Wegmans with what Wegmans calls Italian bread when the real thing is just across the street. Martusciello's is not perfect. Their breads are not as dense as they should be, but they are very close to perfection. While you are there, buy a slice of pizza or a sub to take home. Experiment a little. Buy an extra loaf of a bread you haven't tried before. The breads are inexpensive and a real bargain considering their quality.
Montana Mills Bread Company. See their Web site for numerous store locations. When you call for information ask if the store you have contacted is a bakery or a satellite store. It makes a difference--see the update below.
If you have never baked your own bread and wonder why people cherish homemade breads, visit the Montana Mills Bread Company. Walk up to the taste counter and prepare yourself for a joy you may never forget. Ask for small tastes of several breads. Taste the breads plain first. Then, spread on a little butter and dab on a little jam, if you like your bread that way. This is real bread.
If you are a bread baker, you already know what I am talking about-this is bread heaven. This bread is as good as yours or better. I predict that once you have tasted Montana Mills Bread Company's bread you may never want any other brand, especially the ersatz breads sold in supermarkets.
If you like hot bread, and who doesn't, come early in the morning around 9 a.m.
Montana Mills Bread Company does not slice their bread. Trust me, this is something that you can learn to do and you will be glad you did. Any serrated knife will work. A longer one will work better. Even a sharp non-serrated knife will work just fine. They will even sell you a bread slicer, if you need one. If you are desperate, just tear off a chunk, people have been eating bread that way for centuries. Keeping the bread whole helps keep it fresh.
Come early and be prepared to stand in line for a couple of minutes. If you can't come early, call ahead and have your bread set aside. Come late and you may be out of luck.
Don't even think about parking in the library parking lot next to the Pittsford store. On one visit, a guard was standing on duty at the entrance of the library parking lot. The reason the guard may have been on duty is because of the popularity of Montana Mills Bread Company. If their small lot is full, there is a public parking lots just north of their store. You can also pull off the main street and park. Just stay out of the public library lot.
Will Montana Bread Company succeed? You bet. On my last visit, on a hot day, there were people lined up buying bread. When the days grow colder and warm bread is more desirable, their bread will become even more popular. Their biggest problem may be keeping up with demand.
Montana Mills has opened satellite stores that do not bake bread, but offer breads baked elsewhere and delivered to the stores. If you arrive at one of these non-bakery stores early in the morning, be sure to ask whether you are buying day-old bread. It seems, according to a telephone conversation I had with a store manager, that the Montana Mills definition of day-old is different from conventional wisdom. I was told that if a bread is not 24 hours hold, it is not day-old. My working definition is that if a bread was made yesterday, it is day old. We never resolved our disagreement, but I was assured that if you ask if your bread was "delivered" today, their counter people will give you a truthful answer. Because they make their own definitions, you may want to ask your question several different ways to find out if you are getting fresh bread.
Another issue with the satellite stores is bread quality. I have raved about the quality of Montana Mills breads from their Pittsford and Twelve Corners bakeries. The breads from the satellite stores were not as impressive in my estimation. They were often flatter and had a poorer texture (and sometimes stale). An emailed complaint to the owners through their Web site resulted in an angry store manager calling me to argue about my complaint. The store manager was more interested in finding the employee who admitted to me that other customers had complained about bread quality than resolving the issue. It seems that Montana Mills is still maturing in its customer service area. A follow-up email to the owners did not result in a response.
Since Montana Mills was purchased by Krispy Kreme and then sold to Great Harvest it remains to be seen what will happen next. Montana Mills may become part of the great deceased bakeries list below.
Richport Pastries & Breads
"Our delicious pastries & breads are baked fresh daily. We use only the finest quality ingredients to ensure that our baked goods are always of the best possible flavor, texture & quality for our customers. Our scrumptious breads and mouth watering pastries are hand kneaded and skillfully baked to a golden perfection." Comment: Richport Pastries & Breads is located in Rochester's Public Market.
Reader comment: "The baked goods there are really great. They have the best Italian bread. It doesn't have a hard crust (which some people love but I don't). I can't find another Italian bread that I like as much. The Spanish baked goods are very different than anything found at regular bakeries. I'm hooked on the pastries they call Quesitos. They have authentic Mexican tacos there, as well." Susan D. 5/04.
The Ravioli Shop, 260 North Winton Road, Rochester, NY 14610. 585-288-6420.
The Ravioli Shop, known for incredibly delicious ravioli is now branching out by selling breads and gourmet pastries. Their sourdough bread now reigns as the best sourdough bread available in the city. It is hearty, crusty, and just sour enough. If you have purchased gourmet breads in Paris, France, you will be reminded of them at the first taste of the Ravioli Shop's sourdough bread. They also sell a wonderful baguette that will also remind you of Paris. It has a wonderfully crisp crust and flavorful interior just perfect for dipping in one of the Ravioli Shop's gourmet olive oils or sopping up one of the Ravioli Shop's homemade sauces.
If you are a fan of flourless chocolate cakes, try the Ravioli Shop rendition of this often poorly made delectable. Serve it at room temperature or slightly warmed in a 200 degree or less oven. Do not microwave it or you will end up with chocolate syrup. A little whipped cream, not spray can topping, or a little premium vanilla ice cream adds a delectable dimension to this fragile delicacy.
Break off a butter pat sized piece of the flourless chocolate cake, put it in your mouth and close your eyes. Let the cake dissolve on your tongue. You can forgive yourself the moans that may follow. If you start thinking to yourself that this experience is almost as good as sex, you are again forgiven. If someone asks for a bite, tell them that the cake might be too rich for them. Enjoy it all yourself.
As with all of the Ravioli Shop's products, don't degrade them by eating them with inferior foods. For example, unless you are near death from an illness caused by cholesterol or excessive fat, don't eat the Ravioli Shop breads with anything less than room temperature unsalted butter, preferably imported.
Read more about the Ravioli shop on the pasta page.
Rudy's Oven. 271-8440. 650 South Ave., Rochester, NY 14620. Call for hours. Rudy's is only open during specific hours.
Rudy's oven breads were recommended to me by several friends including the local eminent Web designer, Danica Eskind. Danica proved that her taste in bread is nearly as good as her artistic taste. Rudy's breads are small, dense, and delicious. They are reasonably priced, so buy more than you believe you will need. Bread lovers at your table may consume nearly a loaf each especially if you are serving the bread with a hearty soup on a cold day.
Baker Street Bakery
"The only true Italian bread in Rochester is from Giuseppe's. They just moved from Lyell rd. to a gorgeous shop in the old FWS plaza on Spencerport rd. They don't have a sign yet due to construction in the plaza, but they are right in the corner. I was a daily regular at Veltre's and since they closed, Giuseppe's has been my daily bread stop. This place puts the rest of Rochester's supposed bread companies to shame." FWS Plaza, 40 Spencerport Road, Rochester, NY 14468. J.C. 11/04
"2501 Browncroft Blvd, Rochester, NY. 248-0090. Penfield (small shopping plaza at intersection of Browncroft/Atlantic (where it changes names), Blossom and Creek (same road, different names across Atlantic)."
Comment: Cakes I've tasted from Laurie's were exceptional.
The Little Bakery
Babs suggested the addition of the Little Bakery. 89 charlotte street, 232-4884. fax: 454-2822. firstname.lastname@example.org. I have stopped at the The Little Bakery several times and purchased several items. One immediate turn off for me was seeing insects inside the bakery store and inside the cases during the summer. They don't do a very good job of keeping their doors closed. The breads I tried were good. The pastries were not impressive.
"Max, you should try the Oven Door in Bushnell's Basin...great variety of baked goods including breads, rolls, and desserts." (665 Pittsford Victor Rd., Pittsford, NY 14534. 248-5749.
Also Premier Pastries (Philip and Paula) do an outstanding job with cakes. They made our daughter's wedding cake and have made several "special event" cakes for us as well. The wedding cakes tasted delicious...Joanna (our daughter) has each layer a different flavor. The bakery gives each potential bride and groom customer a sampling box of 6 cakes for them to try and decide. And they do a great job with Christmas cookies, too.
Enjoy your site. Thanks, Diann"
I read your bakery reviews and thought perhaps you might add Patisserie Jean-Claude (687 Moseley Rd. Fairport, NY. 223-3150) on Route 31 in Fairport (across from Wegmans). French pastries of any quality are impossible to find in Rochester and since we found them, we can get a little pastry fix now and again.
The website looks nice...
First time visitor, Loungecats"
Patisserie Jean-Claude is a personal favorite
I'd add Phillips European and Marcellos, Jacksons, and Wojtczak's (pronounced Wo-jacks). Phillips isn't strictly a bakery, but they do make some of the finest baked goods in town. Their Macaroons are the BEST! Martusciello Bakery, IMO, is the BEST bread and roll bakery in town. They supply Red Fedelles and several of the finer restaurants in town as well as selling out of the Rochester Public Market. Don't know where the actual bakery is. Jacksons (Greece) and Wojtczak (Hudson Ave) are the two best bakeries for cakes, rolls, and general baked goods I know of. If you need a wedding cake or 100 dinner rolls for a party, or hot cross buns, or pretty much anything these are the places I go. (Anonymous)
Veltre & Sons Bakery. 26 Parkway, Rochester, NY 14608. (This bakery is closed. See the explanation below)
Veltre & Sons Bakery makes real Italian bread in coal-fired brick ovens. If you are a bread connoisseur, I have already said enough to make your mouth water. Their bread is not that ultra-light synthetic foam sold as bread in supermarkets. Veltre & Sons bread has a hard crust and texture you can sink your teeth into. Ask if you can see the bread baking. If the bakery counter isn't busy and you ask politely, the counter person may take you in back to see bread baking in brick their brick ovens.
Finding Veltre & Sons Bakery is not easy. You could pass by their bakery every day of your life and never notice it. They are on a side street off of Lyell Ave., around the corner from Roncone's Italian restaurant. When you turn north off of Lyle Ave. onto Parkway, you will find them on the right (east) side of the street if you look carefully. There is not much signage and the entrance is in the driveway of a little house.
If you have to drive back across town to your home, you had better buy an extra loaf. A warm loaf of Veltre bread in a car has a very short life expectancy. There's something about that yeasty scent wafting out of the bread bag that is impossible to resist. If you are like me, you will want to tear off an end and eat it as soon as you get into your car. By the time you have stopped at several traffic lights that loaf may be gone. A bag of crumbs and a good story will not satisfy your family or dinner guests. If you can't get to this bakery before noon, call ahead and have a loaf reserved for you.
Veltre & Sons Bakery is one of Rochester, New York's gems. It should be made a historical and gastronomical treasure and protected forever. This bakery is the kind of place that food writers drive hundreds of miles to visit. Until they are discovered, let's keep this secret between just us.
Replies from the Veltre Family about the closing of the bakery
You might as well hear it from the horse’s mouth. My name is Dave Veltre, the owner of Veltre Bakery. The coal fired brick oven that once baked hundreds of crusty loaves of bread now stands cold and silent. I ended 70 years of family traditions in pursuit of a new career in law enforcement. Last year I was accepted into the Monroe County Deputy Sheriff Academy and had to make a very difficult decision for my family and myself. The lure of a secure job, benefits, and more time with my family outweighed the challenges of running the bakery, so I retired from baking and turned to a life of fighting crime. I miss the customers, who made that special trip to my bakery and the families that were our patrons for generations, but you can't buy time and the time I spend now with my family is priceless.
The bakery and the attached house are for sale. They are priced very low. The bakery has been closed since last year and the neighbors tell me that cars still pull in every day looking for our legendary bread. Feel free to contact me at 889- 9251.
Deputy David Veltre"
I am writing from Naples Florida and just read your article on Veltre Baker -I am Anita Veltre...My grandfather John started the bakery many many years ago and my father, Sonny Veltre and brother David have run this great little family business for many years (my Dad started working in the bakery at age 11 - he's 73 now!)
Yes, the bakery just recently ended a long career of making people happy with the wonderful tastes of Italian bread and pizza. This ending is a sad part of our history, however after reading your article I cannot tell you how wonderful I feel. I cannot wait to tell my Dad and brother and I know my Grandma and Grandpa are looking down smiling! This was a very family business with aunts, uncles and grandchildren participation! Your article warmed my heart and also made me homesick for that fresh loaf of bread - never to be duplicated...
Thank you so much for this article... I will share it with the Veltre family.
Still more news about the Veltre bakery
An article in City Newspaper (email@example.com) suggested that a local church may be purchasing the bakery. Let's hope that they are successful.
Do you have a favorite bakery? Publish your complaints and raves to our to the Inforochester.com discussion.