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New Rochelle Bakery Faced—and Faces—Tough Challenge

The more than month-long closing of the Centre Avenue Bridge cut off The Bread Factory from half its customers.

Do you remember how good a fresh baked bread, or croissant really is?

We are in danger of seeing yet another great New Rochelle bakery——close down, because of the disruption to traffic caused by the Centre Avenue Bridge, which closed for maintenance in late July and reopened Friday.

According to city officials, the north sidewalk will continue to be open for pedestrians. The south sidewalk will remain closed for several more weeks until bridge painting is completed.

I remember when the railroad closed the North Avenue Bridge. They said it would be for three months. It was closed for more than a year. Back then, a new restaurant had just opened in the place where now is. He closed for lack of traffic a few months later.

The Bread Factory is located at 30 Grove Ave.—Centre Avenue becomes Grove Avenue after it crosses the New England Thruway. The establishment was cut off from southern New Rochelle, and half of its retail business.

As a result, Sonny Orza, the owner/baker, had to drastically cut his expenses. He let go one of his three retail workers, and cut the hours of the other two by one-third each.

The two remaining workers had to tighten their own belts, because of this new constriction on their already tight budgets. Both have had to sacrifice because of the closing of the bridge.

Orza has also had to sacrifice. He now runs many of his own deliveries, because he also had to let go a deliveryman. He gets up very early, as all bakers do, bakes and oversees his bakers, and then does this second job.

What can we do to save this wonderful bakery?

Come to it. The bread, the cake and the cookies will sell themselves to you. Did I mention that the Bread Factory has great prices, better than the manufactured baked goods at a store? Sonny’s breads, both the standards and the artesian loafs, are wonderful. Flaky, tasty, full bodied, they are all you want from a bread. And there is coffee in the morning.

The cakes, especially the mini-cakes, are not only beyond delicious, they are a steal. The cookies, such as the Linzer Tart, are just wonderful. The best buy in this whole store is the fabulous Danish, at $1 each.

Orza also bakes the many seasonal goods: hot cross buns, Mardi Gras cakes, soda bread, meat-bread, Jewish, Italian, Spanish and other ethnic favorites. You just have to buy his thin-baked toasts, ideal for bruschetta tomato or muffaletta olive spreads. These toasts come in plain, red pepper (my favorite) and ground black pepper. There are also other varieties, and Sonny takes special orders too, on almost anything. If you own a food business, your customers deserve this New Rochelle baked bread.

CORRECTION: This version has been modified from the original, which contained a misleading sentence about the status of the construction work on the bridge.

Bill September 08, 2011 at 09:06 PM
Try the almond, or the prune danish. Get the chocolate croissant for your significant other.
CP Goldberg September 09, 2011 at 12:27 AM
Thank you for this story Bill. I went to The Bread Factory today. I missed you and the Mayor but thank goodness I didn’t miss the prosciutto bread, the brownies, the apple tart or the rolls. Yes, I bought them all and they did not disappoint. In addition to the superb quality of his baked goods, I love the way Orza acknowledges New Rochelle’s French connection by painting ‘boulangerie’ on the side of the building. A lovely touch. He takes it a step further by selling some of the best croissants in the area. The bridge is now opened but if it was still closed, one could find The Bread Factory simply by following his/her nose: The smell of fresh baked bread hangs in the air along Warren St. & Grove Ave. C’est si bon.
MollyK September 09, 2011 at 11:59 AM
As promised, I went to The Bread Factory. As of now I'm probably 2 lbs heavier thanks to the trip. The baked good were spectacular and inexpensive. It has a nice French Patisserie feel. I purchased the croissants, and a few other items. A nice selection of fresh baked goods in La New Rochelle. Put a few tables and chairs outside and you can almost hear the River Seine (it's really I-95). I think I'll bike there the next time to get some exercise in and to keep myself from eating my purchases on the way home. An added bonus: Parking is available in the bakery lot or on the street WITHOUT METERS!!!! No need to load up on quarters before the trip. So there IS somewhere to shop in N.R without getting a parking ticket. Another good reason to go to The Bread Factory.
Michael Woyton September 09, 2011 at 03:31 PM
Oh my goodness. I stopped by there this morning and got a chocolate croissant (it was probably the best I've ever had) and I just happily devoured a couple of small slices of cranberry walnut bread. They were out of prosciutto bread, so I will have to go back.
Bill September 11, 2011 at 03:04 AM
Sorry Molly; but the bike will let you party down.

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