The owners of one of the oldest bakeries in the Bronx have one thing to say after 90 years of business: Conti’s will never go out of style.
With a vast knowledge and love for cookies and cakes, Augustino Conti migrated to New York from Parma, Italy in the early 1900s with the dream of opening his own bakery.
Conti’s dream became a reality in Van Nest in 1921, where he opened the beloved Conti’s Pastry Shoppe, now located at 786 Morris Park Avenue. Although the Conti family no longer owns the bakery, Sal Paljevic, along with his partners Senada Paljevic and Christina DiRusso, have continued Augustino’s legacy since 2003.
Celebrating the bakery’s 90th anniversary this year, Paljevic said his intentions have never changed since purchasing Conti’s eight years ago: keep the tradition of Conti’s Pastry Shoppe alive, and make it the best bakery in New York City.
“When we came here in 2003, truth be told, there was a lot of work that had to be done to fix up the bakery,” Paljevic said. “All Conti’s really needed was some tender love and care. I always wanted to own a bakery, but being able to own Conti’s, one of the oldest bakeries in the Bronx, gave me the motivation to restore the great name of his legacy.”
Paljevic said when he purchased Conti’s, there were a lot of renovations that needed to be made. By 2007, the three partners invested over $100,000 to fully restore the bakery.
Still today, Conti’s retains many of its original details such as hand-stapled tin ceilings, gorgeous wood walls, terrazzo floors, original marble countertops, and the original soda fountain that was installed in 1928 when Conti moved the bakery from Victor Street to Morris Park Avenue.
Besides continuing to bake Conti’s renowned Boston cream pie, the three partners began making high-end, decorated cakes almost three years ago to give the Conti tradition a whole new twist for their customers.
“We have a very loyal clientele that comes in almost every day. We also have a large group of people that come from all over the state,” Senada Paljevic said. “We love to get to know our customers on a personal level because it’s great to know the familiar faces that continue to give our bakery business. It’s wonderful to be part of the Conti tradition.”
The partners are planning an official celebration for the 90th anniversary at the bakery early next spring. In the meantime, the trio are working on a process that will allow Conti’s to ship their famous Boston cream pies around the country.
“A lot of people who used to live in the Bronx still come back for our pastries and cakes,” DiRusso said. “After 90 years of business, we want the Conti name to be known around the country.”vsignorile