A curved-glass case is the only thing that separates salivating customers from Brothers display of french and italian pastries, which include whipped-cream pies, cookies, danishes, and two sizes of cannolis. The store's fresh baked loafs of garlic, brioche, and rye bread, however, perch proudly on open racks, ready to encase sandwich meats, warm butter, or mouthwatering restaurant reviews. The intermingling smells of sweet and savory treats culled from natural, preservative-free ingredients represent a 35-year-old tradition at Brothers Quality Bakery. Custom sculpture cakes are the cherry on top of the baked goods sundae, and the Brothers Quality staff pile layers of fondant and icing upon their red velvet and chocolate masterpieces to create designs such ladybugs for birthday parties, corsets for bachelorette parties, and snowmen for holiday events.
It would be easy to spend an entire day at Calandra's Italian Village—perusing the colorful packaged Italian imports in the market, lingering over a cup of pistachio gelato in the gelateria, and finishing off with a glass of wine in the bar. Wanderers who stroll to the left of the village stumble into Il Vecchio Cafe, where Italian tapestries adorn the walls and diners chat animatedly at wooden tabletops. Servers dart across the sunlit floors, bearing plates of homemade penne alla vodka, eggplant caprese panini, and broiled tilapia and refilling glasses of wine. A counter overlooks the kitchen, where a wood-burning oven bakes thin-crust pizzas. Wooden beams and vintage-style walls enclose the tabletops that speckle the outdoor stone deck, creating the look of a rustic Italian farm or the set of a movie where a rich businessman learns the value of friendship from a talking countryside mouse.
Considered one of New Jersey’s best kept secrets by NJ Channel 12 and celebrating its 50th anniversary, DiPaolo Bros. Bakery has helped placate Newark’s passion for fresh-baked goods since 1961. Load up on leavened loaves from a lineup that features panella ($1.85 small, $2.65 large), ciabatta ($1.99 small, $3.49 large), and French ($1.55 small, $1.99 large) and Italian rolls both round and long ($0.40). Patrons looking for traditional Italian specialties find a 40-year-old cannoli cream recipe clamoring for attention ($1.25 small, $2.25 large) and chewy pignoli cookies fresh from their pine-nut shower, a topping more palatable than honey-flavored hair gel ($16.99 per pound). Additionally, a collection of cakes ($15.99 for 7”, $99.95 for full sheet) helps to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, dental cleanings, grandma’s senior prom, or any of life’s other little pleasures.
Tapping into the storied tradition of Lebanese baking, Zen Bakeries lets customers sample the fruits of a wood-fired brick oven in the form of artisanal flatbread and pita treats. Patrons can choose from either white or whole wheat for nearly all of the baked morsels. The shop's kitchen wizards mix and knead both varieties daily, ensuring that outdated dough such as yesterday's pita and two-dollar bills have no place in this world. Early risers can stop by for a freshly baked egg-and-cheese pita pie ($3.50) or side with sweet in its epic battle against savory by ordering an eye-opening Nutella-and-banana pita pie ($1.50–$3.50).
Brothers Dennis, Anthony, Jeffery and Tommy Moore, along with their father Harry, oversee operations at Little Jimmy's Italian Ices, a family-run business for more than 75 years. In keeping with tradition, today each of the business's 20 flavors is still made without fat, dairy products, high-fructose corn syrup, or the use of modern machinery. The Moore brothers' grandfather crafted the recipe, which they guard so closely that only two of them actually know it. Their customers are vendors across the country, as well as local patrons who procure pushcarts filled with Italian ice for their parties, fundraisers, and the food fights that determine town-council elections.
Owned and operated by the Stolz family for more than 35 years, Supreme Bakery fills its shelves with a fresh-baked bounty of certified-kosher breads, cookies, pies, and pastries made from scratch each day. Earning accolades from Modern Baking for the store's “high quality products”, bakers handcraft a variety of artisan breads, including baguettes made with all-natural, unbleached, unbromated flour mixed with water, salt, and yeast ($2.40/loaf). Or try a loaf of homemade challah bread ($3.95), which may be enjoyed fresh, fried into french toast, or used to smuggle a pound of raspberry-filled butter cookies ($12.75) across state lines. Customers preparing for a celebration can carry out a 7-inch yellow cake with buttercream frosting ($20.75) or design a custom cake in any size using the online cake builder, and cupcakes featuring beloved Sesame Street characters delight youngsters and keep Big Bird’s headshot in circulation ($2.55).
Whether putting cupcakes, ice cream, or creamy soft serve into their customer’s hands, the staff of Sprinkles Sweet Shop connects visitors with a wide world of sweet treats. On hot days, guests wander in to cool off with italian ice, fresh fruit cups for sorbet, or three-scoop banana splits with a toppings and whipped cream. Sprinkles staff also scoops ice cream into specialty cones that have chocolate chip cookies, pretzels, or M&Ms rolled into their crunchy walls. For special occasions, the bakers make custom cake pops, red and blue velvet cakes, and put together cups of sprinkles to throw at newlyweds.