Mamma Mia, There’s a New Italian Bakery in Oyster Bay

There are more than just cookies and cannoli at Rose and Joe’s, the new Italian bakery in Oyster Bay which opened on May 22. It serves breakfast and lunch too. Town officials, including Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino, were on hand for the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony, and were ecstatic with the idea that Oyster Bay finally had an Italian bakery.

Located on East Main Street in the heart of Oyster Bay, Rose and Joe’s is the second location of the popular Rose and Joe’s Italian Bakery in Astoria, Queens.

“My family has owned the bakery in Queens for over forty years,” said Chef Rosario Gambino. “I found a spot available in Oyster Bay that I thought would be a good fit for it. I told my cousin, ‘I’m a chef, you’re a baker. Let’s join forces.’”

Chef Rosario Gambino (right) and Joe Porretto work together at the bakery.

Chef Rosario is no stranger to Oyster Bay. He had been the executive chef at Sagamore Yacht Club on Bay Avenue where he had worked for three years. He is now back to his roots–working with family in a family-run business, and he couldn’t be happier.

His partners in the Oyster Bay location are his cousin Anthony Porretto, and Anthony’s son Joe Porretto. Rosario does the bulk of the cooking, with the assistance of Joe who makes the pizza and sandwiches. Anthony is in charge of making the pastries, cakes and other desserts.

According to Joe Porretto, the youngest partner at 21-years-old, it was his grandfather who started the business all those years ago.

“I come from a big family,” said Joe. “It all started with my grandfather, who was named Giuseppe, like me. He came from Sicily. He was from Palermo. He came to the United Stated and opened a bakery/pizzeria, and his partner was Rose, who was a pastry chef.”

Rose and Joe have been gone for many years, but the family business continues to flourish. The new location offers customers a bright and airy place to have breakfast or lunch. On days when it’s not so hot, the beautiful, double doors can be found open, inviting guests to come in and sit among the several tables in an inviting space. An abundance of cakes, pastries, cookies and cannoli, which are made fresh daily, fill the glass cases, while homemade breads and rolls overflown in baskets. A nearby coffee bar serves coffee, cappuccino, espresso, lattes and ice coffee.

Rose and Joe’s even serves pizza—Sicilian-style. • Photo by SliceNYC

If you’re hungry, beware. You may see Chef Rosario removing huge sheet pans of homemade meat breads from the oven. The smell is beyond delicious. Rose and Joe’s offers the traditional Italian meat bread, sausage bread and olive bread, and everything is made fresh each morning. If you are heading there for breakfast, frittatas with bacon, ham and scallions are offered, as well as potato and eggs, egg white with broccoli and tomatoes, and ham and cheese croissants. And of course there are muffins as well.

For lunch there are daily specials which may include Caesar salad wraps with chicken or turkey, a crispy buffalo chicken wrap, a loaded turkey melt on semolina bread, a vegetarian ciabatta with eggplant, spinach and mozzarella, along with a variety of salads. The most popular menu item has been The Classic Muffuletta –soppressata, mortadella, salami, provolone, and fresh mozzarella, which is made in-house daily, and served on semolina bread. Pizza, another favorite, is made in the Sicilian style.

“The response from the community has been very good,” said Chef Rosario. “We’ve been very happy about it.”

Rose and Joe’s Italian Bakery is open Monday – Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Sundays from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.