Carrot Top Pastries, an Inwood staple for nearly 40 years, is poised to serve up its last carrot cake, square and muffin.
The beloved bakery, known for its confections as well as its breakfast and lunch menu, will close for good in January, according to owner Robert Mancino. But unlike many mom-and-pop shops that have fallen victim to rising Manhattan rents, Mancino says he’s losing too much business due to a lack of cooking gas.
"I’ve lost 40 percent of my business in the last year," Mancino, 71, said.
Fans of the bakery are lamenting its planned closure, which was announced just before Thanksgiving via a poster on the storefront.
“They were a gem in Inwood! Feels like the [neighborhood] is slowly losing its character,” Mike Jiménez wrote in an Inwood community Facebook group.
The entire building at 5025 Broadway, which has residential units above the bakery, has gone without cooking gas since December 2017. Mancino said he’s been forced to bake and cook all of his menu items at his second bakery in Washington Heights and then transport the food to Inwood, which has taken a toll on his staff, customers and his bottom line.
“We can’t do muffins anymore because we have to send them up first thing in the morning and then if you need more we can’t do anymore. We used to bake muffins every half-hour, every two hours, whatever we needed,” he said.
Landlord Joseph Sbiroli said the cooking gas had to be shut off because they needed to re-pipe the entire building. He said they’re “very close” to being finished and expects the gas to be turned back on in the next few weeks.
But after pumping $50,000 of his personal money into the business to keep it afloat, Mancino said he’s ready to cut his losses. He now plans to shutter the Inwood location — though an official date in January has yet to be set — and move all of his staff to the Carrot Top Pastries in Washington Heights.
“How can I stay if the last eight months, I paid the rent with my personal money,” Mancino said. “I’m leaving in January whether they sue me or whatever they want to do.”
Mancino said he still has five or six years left on his lease, but wants to break it and hopes the building owners will let him leave in peace.
“All I want to do is close with no problems.”