Soho’s iconic Vesuvio Bakery comes back to life
Keeping in mind that the city’s new restaurant policy will likely affect it, Gothamist has reported that a new bakery has opened in the former Vesuvio Bakery storefront at 160 Prince Street. They’ve called themselves Vesuvio Bakery and intend on preserving as much of the iconic, 100-year-old establishment’s physical look and simple community aesthetic.
Neapolitan immigrants Nunzio and Jennie Dapolito opened Vesuvio Bakery in 1920, selling Italian bread and biscuits that were cooked from their coal ovens in the basement. Their son, Anthony, delivered much of their baked goods on a horse-drawn wagon. Anthony eventually took over the business and became a beloved neighborhood fixture and community activist, serving on his local Community Board for 52 years and even teaming up with Eleanor Roosevelt and Jane Jacobs to fight Robert Moses. He passed away in 2003 but had sold the business earlier that year due to poor health. The new owners kept the name and left the iconic lime green storefront and old-fashioned signage intact.
But by early 2009, a “for rent” sign appeared in Vesuvio’s window after a mysterious closure for renovations. The cause, as the Times had reported, had actually been a dispute between the landlord and the business owner. City Bakery founder Maury Rubin then took over the space (also maintaining its historic storefront) as an outpost of his offshoot Birdbath. However, in the lead up to the entire City Bakery closure, this Birdbath location closed last August, leaving the beloved bakery empty again.
However, Gothamist brought us some much-needed good news this past weekend in that a bakery named Vesuvio opened in the space. The new owner is Adam Block, who runs Hell’s Kitchen’s Print restaurant, and he’ll be offering “pastries, loaves of bread, Italian cookies, and soft serve gelato,” according to Gothamist, who sampled some items such as the pignoli cookies, ricotta cheesecake, and Italian sandwich and had very positive things to say. Block told Gothamist that he intends to honor the 100-year Vesuvio history and leave the storefront unaltered and serve only simple, quality baked goods. Vesuvio Bakery will normally be open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.