BY BETH DEDMAN
Grandaisy Bakery, located in Tribeca, is celebrating 14 years of business with balloons and free bread to neighborhood residents and anyone who will take it.
After restaurants closed and Grandaisy’s primary source of income, wholesale bread orders, were depleted, owner Monica Von Thun Calderón decided to keep the retail storefront open so locals could continue to have a place to grab a cup of coffee and a sandwich, General Manager Anthony Haydu said.
Tribeca residents began to regularly visit the bakery, Haydu said. They have roughly 160 customers visit their storefront every day.
“It was really nice knowing that we could, with the help of the community, stay open and be able to give to them,as well as the local 1st Precinct,” Haydu said. “They thanked us enormously that we were the only place in like a six block area where we could get a cup of coffee.”
Grandaisy Bakery also partnered with the North Brooklyn Angels, a nonprofit organization that is working to combat hunger in the midst of the pandemic, to donate their leftover loaves of bread for meals to be distributed to the community. Other nonprofits began turning Grandaisy away, saying they had too much bread, so excess bread began to be thrown away.
Paul Samulski, President of the North Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and a volunteer for the North Brooklyn Angels, was walking by the bakery one night and noticed that there were a lot of really good loaves of all types of bread in their dumpster, he said.
Samulski approached Haydu and Calderón and asked them to start setting aside the best of the best loaves at the end of the day and hold them for him to pick up the following morning, as he headed to the kitchen.
“We’re just happy to be able to give to people who are in need,” Haydu said.
Samulski oversees the North Brooklyn Angels production line every morning, and works with volunteers, many of them regulars, to pack-out however many meals are needed for each day, he said.
“We usually average around 500 meals per day and in addition to a protein, a starch, some salad, fruit and quite often a pastry ‘treat’, each meal also comes complete with a couple slices of delicious Grandaisy Bakery Italian-style bread,” Samulski said. “Every day usually starts with a volunteer or two slicing the many loaves I carry in with me.”
Haydu encourages the community to keep coming by the bakery and meet the baristas, who have gotten to know the names of the local regulars in the store.
“This is a very humble, small bakery,” Haydu said. “Monica has done a great job pulling this all together for the last 14 years. It’s a fun place to work, with really good people of lots of nationalities. There’s some really good bakers. It’s just a really good local bakery.”
Grandaisy Bakery is open from 7 a.m.- 3 p.m. every day at 250 West Broadway.