Residents Say Fishtown Can't Live by Cupcakes Alone

By Elizabeth Fiedler | NewsWorks
|  Saturday, Nov 16, 2013  |  Updated 9:09 AM EDT
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Fishtown Can't Live by Cupcakes Alone

Nat Hamilton/for NewsWorks

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Many neighborhoods in Philly would be happy to have an array of new restaurants or a supermarket. Rapidly gentrifying Fishtown already has both, but it's missing something that used to be a staple in every neighborhood.

Leo Mulvihill, who has lived in Fishtown about five years, said his neighborhood has it all -- including a sea of pizza shops. "Down the street there is Pizza Hub, then a couple blocks down from that has just opened The Art of Pizza," he said, adding there is virtually no reason to head to Center City.

Fishtown has everything, Mulvihill said, "except a bread bakery."  While loaves of bread are readily available for sale in many places, including the supermarket, he said it's not the same.

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Bread is baked in Fishtown -- Metropolitan Bakery supplies its many locations from a large facility here. But residents have to place orders by phone ahead of time to pick up loaves at the site.

"It's absolutely tragic that Fishtown has no bread bakery," said resident Geoffrey Baker. "Every morning I have a hankering for fresh steaming bread and there's just none to be found anywhere."

"Given my long familial lineage of bread and assorted bakery crafts," Baker said he feels strongly about the issue. And he remains dubious about buying bread at the supermarket where it comes "in these hapless shrink-wrapped packages that I know not whence they come."

He said his figure can't tolerate a steady diet of cupcakes and and other sweets baked in the many cupcake shops throughout Fishtown.

In fact, Baker lives next to Zynnie Bakes, a shop that sells cookies, cupcakes, and confections. But not bread.

Cynthia Martinez, a new Fishtown resident, opened the shop in May. While she loves baking and considered selling bread, she said she realized that making dough, letting it rise and then baking it take too much time and space.

"Once I started putting all the equipment in and getting my process down, it wasn't as feasible as I thought it would be," she said. "The space is limited. I need to take advantage of every corner I can."

When asked if the neighborhood has a good old-fashioned bread bakery, one lifelong Fishtown resident thought for a second and then realized the only place he can name is another cupcake shop. He agreed with the newcomers that Fishtown needs bread.

One neighborhood pizza shop, Pizzeria Beddia, is filling the void on Wednesdays when it sells loaves made from leftover pizza dough.

A new Fishtown establishment opening in early 2014, from coffee roasters La Colombe, is slated to make and sell bread from a store on Frankford Avenue. For Fishtown residents, the day can't come soon enough.


This story is reported through a newsgathering partnership between NBC10.com and NewsWorks.org.

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