St. Rocco's Bakery
4 St. Rocco Place Glen Cove, New York 516-427-5333
When John and Lisa Sacchetta reopened St. Rocco's in October 2012, it was a triumphant aria belted out after three drama-filled acts.
The opera began in 1940, when the Giambruno family opened a brick-oven bakery just opposite Glen Cove's new Catholic church, St. Rocco's. For the next half century, Giambruno's Bakery made what many considered the best rustic bread in Nassau County.
By 1991, however, business was flat. "They'd bake only 300 loaves every day," said John, "and when those were gone, they'd close." John's father, a builder who lived around the corner, made a deal: "I'll buy the bakery," he told the Giambrunos, "if you teach my sons, John and Luciano, how to make bread."
The Sacchettas renamed the bakery St. Rocco's. In 1994, John left the business, and in 1995, Luciano sold it to Royal Crown, a Brooklyn bakery that ran it until 2003, when John and his wife, Lisa, bought it back. In 2007, it was heavily damaged by fire. After years of wrangling over permits, reconstruction began in March 2011. That September, another fire destroyed the building. The Sacchettas started again.
An immense bread oven was imported from Italy. Cranked to 500 degrees, it produces the bakery's signature brick-oven breads, made with a wet, slow-rising dough. The burnished, tough-crusted round Pugliese, $4, is well worth a trip to Glen Cove.
At a moderate 380 degrees, the oven bakes scores of more common breads, as well as elegant pastries, cakes and cookies. A separate wood-burning oven handles pizza, focaccia and stuffed bread.
Customers are thrilled, said Lisa. "Finally, the smell of the neighborhood is back!" is how one old-timer put it.