Rockland Bakery is more than just a bakery, it’s a triple threat. Not only do they have a section dedicated to freshly baked cakes, pastries, and other sweet goodies, they also have a deli section as well as the real crowd pleaser — the bread factory.
For the past 31 years, the Battaglia family has been running the bakery. Director of Sales, Mike Battaglia, took the place of his father who passed away two years ago. Now he, along with his four uncles, are the owners.
There’s one unique tradition that been consistent at Rockland Bakery since the day it opened 75 years ago: Customers are able to select from a variety of different breads fresh from the cooling racks.
Grab a pair of plastic gloves, a huge paper bag, and fill up with ciabatta, cinnamon-raisin-walnut bread, and bagels straight off the conveyor belt. If you’re a bread fanatic like me, you’ll be stuffing your face in the car with a loaf of bread the size of your head.
photo by Kayla Garritano
“We’ve been going since I was little, so for about twenty years,” says Westchester resident Julianna Didonato. “I’m obsessed with their bagels. They’re so good, I would buy them in bulk so it would last me longer.”
Another Westchester resident, Nicole Bochinis, also visits the bakery and thinks highly of this unusual idea. “I love being able to pick what I need. It makes the experience interactive and fun for everyone.”
According to Battaglia, the bread factory makes tens of thousands of pounds of bread each day with a variety of styles such as Italian, Jewish, and French.
Throughout the years, what was a small retail business has expanded into wholesale, providing to hospitals, stadiums, and even Westchester’s Harrison High School.
So how did such a small retail store grow to be a bakery phenomenon with 100 trucks, four distribution centers, and customers from Westchester County as well as upstate New York? “Never saying no and always providing customer service,” said Battaglia. “We’ve been stretching out little by little with reputation.”
If you’re crossing the Tappan Zee Bridge any time soon and have a few minutes (or hours) free, you may want to make a stop at the place that I have deemed a beautiful bread wonderland.
94 Demarest Mill Rd, Nanuet
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