Tony Park has always loved cooking. Growing up in Italy, he was introduced early on to the Italian ways of making sweet treats.
“I was born by Korean blood and raised in Italy by an Italian family,” said Park. “I think and talk Italian and never lived in Korea. But I travel a lot for work and business.”
Park studied pastry making in Italy and since moving to New York City, he has managed several Italian restaurants and owned a Korean restaurant, and built a career for himself in commercial real estate. He has traveled the world learning about other ways of making pastries, and when the opportunity arose for him to start his own brand, he took it, creating Angelina Bakery.
Angelina Bakery is the city’s first Asian-inspired Italian bakery, with Park paying homage to his grandmother with the recipes. Park takes the best of both of his Korean and Italian backgrounds to produce delicious treats.
“I wanted to make something that had an Italian basis with an Asian twist. I got to China and Korea a lot, and a lot of the desserts are less sweet and less heavy,” said Park. “Italian donuts are milk, butter and flour, which is flavorful but heavy. Korean donuts are made with water, oil and sugar. It’s the same dough, but different ingredients. I wanted to figure out a way to enjoy it and not be so full.”
Park started to go to half and half with his recipes, making lighter products, rather than picking one style over the other.
“If you do half water, half milk, you get a much lighter product. It’s softer and lighter, but not healthy,” said Park. “When you eat a traditional cassata, there’s ricotta with sugar, it’s so sweet. We make a version which is a light mousse. It’s very light, you can cut it with a spoon. You’re not just finishing one, but you can eat two.”
Park quickly found success with his first store in Hell’s Kitchen and the shop’s version of the Bombolone. On Dec. 1, Angelina Bakery opened its latest location at 1675 Broadway in Times Square.
The plan to make this new store was in the works prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but naturally was put on hold during the shutdowns. However, an opportunity arose for Park to get the ball rolling on the store in 2021.
“We had another store in Central Park where the landlord was nasty during COVID. We closed the store but still had all of the equipment,” said Park. “We saw an opportunity at this location and got a good deal, so we went for it and started building six months ago.”
The grand opening kicked off with free Bombolones for customers who made a purchase at the new shop. Park says that the opening was so successful that they actually ran out of flour to make more inventory.
“We did more sales than the original store’s sales, we were very busy,” said Park. “It was very well received.”
In the next few months, Park plans on opening a new location on 35th Street in Manhattan, plus a new spot in Downtown Brooklyn. For more information on Angelina Bakery, visit www.angelinabakery.com or follow Angelina Bakery on Facebook and Instagram.