Italian bakery keeps tradition alive

June 8, 2009 8:37:09 AM PDT
Handing down recipes is one thing; taking over a legendary family business is quite another. But the transition has been seamless for one bakery on the western edge of Little Italy, where the Hungry Hound recently tasted a little bit of everything.For more than 75 years, the Masi family ran the ovens at the superior bakery on Western Avenue, but with no one to pass the business on to, Angelo Saccameno stepped in. A child of the neighborhood, he and his family took the reigns about a year ago, and have kept the old world bakery going strong. More recently, they added a pastry chef to sweeten the deal.

The Saccameno family had been buying bread from the Superior Bakery in the Tri-Taylor neighborhood since the 1950s when they become bakers a year ago.

"I remember coming here, crawling through the door into the retail space, and I've been coming 25 years," Angelo Saccameno, owner of the Italian Superior Bakery, said.

After 75 years, the Masi family had had enough, and so Angelo's family bought the business last year.

"We just missed the bread and the product, and felt, 'let's carry on the tradition,'" he said.

The first order of business: duplicate the legendary filone, made daily in a deck oven the size of a school bus.

"Very hard crust. Unique shape to itself, it usually has a split. A lot of people like to call it a split loaf, because the top of the loaf is actually split open," Saccameno said.

They churn out a half-dozen varieties, including the long French and a few rounds. They also make freselles, which make great bruschetta. That same bread dough is used to make their enormous pan pizzas; topped with fresh sausage and vegetables, which keep well in the refrigerator.

"The unique thing about our bread is that it is full-bodied. Everybody calls it a full-bodied bread, it's heavy. It's great for sandwiches, majority of people like it for toast and it holds together very well," Saccameno said.

Just last month, the family hired a pastry chef, who now keeps a full assortment of Italian-inspired sweets on hand. From two kinds of biscotti to eclairs and cake, one of their most popular items is the chewy-crisp cookie embedded with pine nuts. Saccameno says they've adapted the offerings to suit the new neighborhood.

"We've got a lot of traditional Italians that come in here, so we like to bring out the traditional eclairs and cannolis. And there are a lot of other people that come in here just looking for a muffin or a cup of coffee in the morning," said Saccameno.

A warning, the pizza featuring fresh ricotta goes fast, so call ahead to see which flavors they have on hand.

Italian Superior Bakery
931-33 S. Western Ave.
312-733-5092
www.italiansuperiorbakery.com


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