A local bakery recently won the title of ‘Best Pastries’ in the tri-state area during WABC radio’s annual contest.
Zeppieri & Sons Italian Bakery, a Pelham Bay institution, received the most votes in the online contest this spring.
“It was a really good feeling,” said owner Carmine Zeppieri Jr. about the win.
They celebrated the contest at an event in Manhattan, where they handed out samples. Watching people enjoy the pastries and hearing their feedback was really rewarding, said Carmine Zeppieri III, who works in the bakery with his father.
“It was great to see and hear that people felt that way,” said Zeppieri III.
The family business has a long history in Pelham Bay, beginning when Carmine Zeppieri Sr. bought the bakery in 1968, after working at the location, previously called Al & Dom’s, for 10 years, his son said.
The business started as a bread bakery, and although over the years they expanded into cakes, cookies and pastries, Zeppieri Jr. said they’re still best known for the bread.
“So it’s a big accomplishment to get recognized for our pastries,” he said.
They work hard to keep up with the times, now offering trendier items like red velvet cake.
“Over the years we’ve kept growing and changing, adding new things while we keep it traditional,” said Zeppieri Jr.
Tradition means the baked goods are all still made from scratch with fresh ingredients, like the old-fashioned custard they use.
And Italian classics, such a sfogiatelli, a fan-shaped pastry with a cheese filling, are still churned out despite the fact that they’re labor intensive and take days to make.
Tradition is important to the family, who have become a permanent part of the neighborhood over the more than 50 years they’ve been baking.
“There’s a sense of pride,” said Zeppieri Jr. about the place.
The bakery was a second home to all the Zeppieri kids growing up, he said. At one point both his brothers worked there with him, and his daughter is now involved in the marketing of the business, in addition to his son working at his side.
And the shop is where not just the family business, but the family, began—Zeppieri Sr. met the family’s matriarch when she was a sales girl at the bakery, and his sons have had similar fortune.
“It’s more than just a bakery to us,” said Zeppieri III.