Vitale’s Bakery on the Hill is a St. Louis landmark
Many businesses that have stood the test of time are also family businesses; that’s just how it works. But Vitale’s Bakery on the Hill, now in its fourth generation, takes it to the next level. Take a deep breath and try to keep up.
According to Vitale’s president and co-owner Angie Vitale, the bakery’s legacy dates back to 1945 when her grandfather, Pete Bommarito, and his business partner Caesar Bommarito (no relation) opened Bommarito Bakery on 18th Street. Eventually Caesar left the business and Vitale’s father, also named Pete – Pete Vitale – became involved, as did her great-uncle, Nick Randazzo. Following her grandfather and great-uncle’s retirements, Vitale’s uncles, Sam Bommarito and Danny Calloway, became co-owners with her father; they renamed it Pete’s Italian Bakery. The downtown bakery closed in 1975; the next year, Vitale’s parents, Pete and Grace, opened Vitale’s Bakery on the Hill. The family has been holding it down in the neighborhood ever since; today, Vitale co-owns the bakery with her brothers Sam and Michael.
Now, Vitale’s son, Bobby Kaestner, has entered the business. “My mom and dad built this establishment on quality, and they took very much pride and joy in working,” Vitale said. “We’re trying to keep on this legacy. My son, Bobby, makes the bread at night. You can see the pride in this young man because he’s really learning, and he’s got the skill. We’ve got a wonderful staff.”
As Vitale puts it, everyone who steps foot in Vitale’s Bakery is treated like a relative. “When people come here, they’re like family,” she explained. “You show somebody that you have time. I open the door for everybody, and they feel the warmth when they come into the bakery.” Part of that warmth comes from Vitale’s continued commitment to doing things the right way. “I’ll be very honest – my dad’s motto was about quality,” Vitale said. “Our bestsellers are our breads, our cookies and our Italian pastries, including our ricotta puffs and cannolis. Everything that we have is top quality, and that’s why people gravitate towards us.”
People definitely gravitate. Vitale’s makes Italian bread daily, as well as pizza shells (partially cooked pizza doughs) and over 40 different kinds of cookies. Some Schnucks locations carry their delicious seed bread, and the grocery store uses their 12-inch hoagie rolls for deli sandwiches. In fact, Vitale’s supplies so many places in St. Louis with bread and pizza shells that Vitale has nearly lost count. “Oh, there’s so many,” she laughed. “I’d say we have close to 100 restaurants, and that’s including pizzerias.” So, chances are, even if you’ve never been to Vitale’s, you’re already a big fan of their work.
Vitale’s Bakery, 2130 Marconi Ave., St. Louis, 314.664.6665, vitalebakery.com
Tags : Places
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