Detail of the 1998 St. Joseph's
Table at the Hammer Museum with
artistic breads made
by Villa La Rosa Bakery

Italian American bakeries have for generations provided a variety of breads (none of which likely came close to the bread immigrants had eaten in Italy), sold as 'Italian,' as well as traditional Italian sweets, the best known of these being cannoli (Sicilian) and sfogliatelle (Neapolitan) and various forms of biscotti (cookies), almond cookies, marsala cakes and pastries. In the 1980s and 1990s a revolution in bread consumption took place in Southern California, where bakeries such as the Italian Fornaio and La Brea Bakery introduced the local public to a greater variety of more "authentic" (and crustier) Italian, as well as innovative, breads. (In the early 1990s, Il Fornaio and La Brea breads vied for a place on grocers' shelves. La Brea won out.) The higher cost of these breads (not to mention the distance of these bakeries from many Italian communities), however, made these less accessible to most (Italian) Americans, although in recent years prices have decreased, while availability has increased. Then again, many have simply become accustomed to and prefer the local Italian of French bread loaf and ignore these newer, more costly, breads. Many people now make bread at home, and some have actually built backyard bread and pizza ovens. At some the following bakeries traditional sweets and special ceremonial items can be found: e.g., confetti (Jordan almonds) for weddings, wedding cakes, Christmas panettone, St. Josephís Day cakes (See: CELEBRATIONS), or plastic cake ornaments for First Holy Communion.

A Bit of Cultural History: "Italy's is a bread culture. Bread is the staff of life and for centuries was the stuff which barely kept the masses this side of starvation (in the South, polenta ócornmealóin the North). Direst poverty was known as "miseria di pane" "bread misery" (that is, when even the minimal meal could not be had). The most elemental form of charity, in fact, was giving bread to the poor. It is the basic food, and hence is sacred (like corn to the Hopi, rice to the Chinese). It is never wasted. Consequently, there are many creative uses of old bread in la cucina rustica (now fashionable peasant cooking): it is recycled in soups and stews, grated as breadcrumbs, made into bruschetta, toasted, soaked, sauteed, etc. The primal activity of baking bread is the symbol of hearth and home. It is a moral touchstone. How many dialects sum up the honest and generous as buono come il pane? Close friends broke bread together as compagni. The preparation and consumption of bread is always an act of devotion, a daily ritual [Ö]."
From: Luisa Del Giudice, "Tomie de Paola and the Writing/Illustrating of Italian Folk Culture," in Italian Americana, winter 1997, Vol. 15, no. 1, 22-30. All rights reserved.

See: Restaurants and Gelato

Bauduccoís Italian Deli and Bakery
2939 Agoura Rd
Westlake Village, CA 91361
Tel: (818) 991-4670

Bay Cities Italian Deli and Bakery
1517 Lincoln Blvd
Santa Monica, CA, 90401
Tel: (310) 395-8279

Buscemiís Bakery
2223 S Pacific Ave
San Pedro, CA 90731
Tel: (310) 548-6806

CafË Teramo
12905 Victory Bl
North Hollywood, CA 91606
Tel: (818) 985-2233

C G Italian Bakery
1011 E Las Tunas Dr
San Gabriel, CA 91776-1614
Tel: (626) 286-5988

De Simone Bakery & Delicatessen
6850 Edinger Ave
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Tel: (714) 847-0922

Dolce Forno Bakery
3828 Willat Ave
Culver City, CA 90232
Tel: (310) 280-6004
(Celestino Dragoís bakery: See: Restaurants)

Eagle Rock Bakery & Deli
1726 Colorado Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90041
Tel: (323) 255-8431 or (323) 255-8224

Euro Caffe
9559 S Santa Monica Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Tel: (310) 274-9070

Europa Ristorante and Bakery
237 W. 7th Street
San Pedro, CA 90731
Tel: (310) 831-5677

1248 Westwood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Tel: (310) 446-3252

Federicoís Bakery
(Anthonyís Italian Gourmet)
1212 S. Baldwin Ave.
Arcadia, CA
Tel: (626) 446-4427

Federicoís Bakery
1860 Evergreen St.
Duarte, CA
Tel: (626) 357-9866

Federicoís Bakery
1810 E. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91107
Tel: (626) 795-4484

Giuliano's Delicatessen and Bakery
1700 Aviation Blvd
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
Tel: (310) 376-0416

Italia Bakery & Deli
11134 Balboa Blvd.
Granada Hills, CA 91344
Tel: (818) 360-2913
(operated by the Magnanimo family since 1971)

Joseph's Bakery
1027 S. Meyler St.
San Pedro, CA 90731
Tel: (310) 833-1921

Lascari's Deli & Bakery
14104 E Lambert Rd
Whittier, CA 90605
Tel: (562) 698-5899

Massimos Delectables
13222 W Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90066
Tel: (310) 823-8381

I Panini Di Ambra Bakery
5633 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Tel: (323) 463-1200

Mi Piace Italian Kitchen & Bakery
4799 Commons Way
Calabasas, CA 91302
Tel: (818) 591-8822

Portofino Bakery
1213 S. Meyler
San Pedro, CA
Tel: (310) 831-2544

Ramona Bakery
1101 S. Pacific Ave.
San Pedro, CA
Tel: (310) 832-0369

Sabatino Italian Bakery
12118 Sylvan St
North Hollywood, CA 91606
Tel: (818) 766-9538

Susina Bakery & Cafe
7122 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Tel: (323) 934-7900

Viktor Benes Bakeries
(Head Office)
703 S. Main St.
Burbank, CA 91506
Tel: (818) 841-9347
Tel: (818) 841-0139

(Ugo Mamolo & Roger Terzuolo, owners, 15 locations)

Villa Rosa Italian Bakery-Deli
38 E Live Oak Ave
Arcadia, CA 91006-5237
Tel: (626) 446-7220

A Bit of History: Serving up Sfogliatelle and "Puccini with Pasta": Sarno's Pastry Shop and Sarno's CaffË dell'Opera (1946-2000): "After 54 years, Sarno's Pastry Shop in Los Feliz (Vermont Ave.), closed shop in July, 2000. A family-owned bakery at 1712 N. Vermont Ave., opened in 1946 by Umberto Sarno from Naples and his wife, Frances. One could buy cannoli and cream puffs, panettone and Marsala wine cakes, and sfogliatelle, a Neapolitan specialty. Alberto, brother of Umberto, joined them in 1964, after years of voice studies in Italy, stood up one day to sing to the customers, and the coffee shop was turned into Sarno's CaffË dell'Opera. Alberto "served up Puccini nightly with the pasta, drawing a clientele that included Sophia Loren, Jimmy Durante, Gina Lollobrigida, Tony Bennett, Mario Lanza andówhen he was in townóAlberto's friend, Luciano Pavarotti."
[Read more from: "In Los Feliz, Life Will Be a Little Less Sweet," by Beverly Beyette, Los Angeles Times Southern California Living; Part-E, Aug 1, 2000, pg. 1]

IOHI Archive:"Sarno's Italian CafË dell'Opera CafË and Bakery," interview with Angela Francesca Sarno Ghomi, Donna Sarno, Dino Sarno, Frank Ray Perilli, interviewed by Nancy Spiller. [Includes 1) correspondence from Nancy Spiller, 2) 2 90-min. audio cassette tapes, 3) 3 color photographs]

La Brea, Il Fornaio, Buona Forchetta

La Brea Bakery: "Changing the way people ate bread."
In 1989, Nancy Silverton & Mark Peel (of Campanile restaurant) of La Brea Bakery "changed the way people ate bread in Los Angeles." [Read more of "Our Story" at:

La Brea Bakery (the original bakery)
624 South La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Tel: (323) 939-6813

La Brea Bakery CafÈ - Anaheim
1556 Disneyland Drive
Anaheim, CA 92802
Tel: (714) 490-0233

In Southern California La Brea breads can be purchased at: Albertsons, Bristol Farms, Costco, Gelsons, La Brea Bakery, Pavilions, Ralphs, Trader Joe's, and Whole Foods Market

Il Fornaio

"[Ö] Il Fornaio is a franchised bakery operation with 3,000 outlets, invented not by some McDonald's executive but by Carlo Veggetti, a fourth-generation furniture- maker. In America, home of fast food seasoned for the lowest common palate, Il Fornaio is a chain of full-service trattorie, based in Corte Madera and driven to extremes of authenticity by founder Larry Mindel."
[Read more: "Il Fornaio Succeeds on Both Sides of the Atlantic," by Peter Graumann, San Francisco Chronicle, Date: 10/30/2001: ]

Il Fornaio baking school was established in Barlassina (Lombardy), Italy in 1972, opened its first baker in Milan in 1975 and in 1981 opened its first bakery in the U.S. by Williams-Sonoma. Four bakeries were opened in California from 1981-83, becoming a publically traded company in 1997. (More at:

Il Fornaio Restaurant and Bakery:

Buona Forchetta:
"The proprietor of the upper-crust Italian bakery Buona Forchetta Handmade Breads isn't the least bit proprietary about her recipes, and insists anyone can make bread with success. Dunaway should know. She started Buona Forchetta (which means "good fork," or good food, in Italian) in her own fragrant kitchen in Beverly Glen five years ago. Since then, she and husband Don Carlos Dunaway have built Buona Forchetta into a $2-million business that has earned bravos from foodies in the field and the press." From: Irene Lacher, Los Angeles Times, Jan 17, 2000. p.1

Of related interest:

Los Angeles Ovenworks
596 West Avenue 46
Los Angeles, California 90065
Tel: (323) 226 1296 or (800) 516 5716

Handmade wood-fired ovens.