Boyle McCauley News

Since 1979 • February-March 2024 • Circulation 5000

Donate

Italian Bakery Reopens on 97th Street

Success based on family solidarity and staff appreciation - and providing hockey fans with hot dog buns for decades.

Italian Bakery co-owner Rosaly DeVenz in the rebuilt store on 97th Street. Supplied

The newly-constructed Italian Bakery at 10644 - 97th Street opened for business on October 2nd. This was a major event, as the original building had burned to the ground in 2020. Between a devastating fire and the pandemic that arrived at about the same time, this long-time, three-generation family business (see sidebar) was severely challenged. There were material shortages and contractor challenges related to COVID-19. 

But the outcome is a larger and more extensive range of products and services in an exceptionally attractive and functional space. The new bakery, of course, offers the traditional wide array of pastries and bread and doughnuts. It has also expanded to include fresh pasta and pizza, as well as ice cream and deli/grocery items, including ice cream and milk.

A visitor immediately senses the collegial relationship among staff and their interest in offering a “happy” customer experience. Co-owner Rosaly DeVenz says they run their business like a family. They are a family, as her partner in the business is her brother Renato Frattin and several employees past and present are relatives. “It’s in the blood,” DeVenz says.

The employees are unconditionally respected and supported and therefore often continue to work for the bakery for decades. 

“For us, it is natural to take care of staff,” DeVenz says. “If a single mom has a sick child, we send her home to look after her family. If you do that, the employees will give you 20 times more when they are back on the job. You are nothing without your staff.”

When asked about secrets of success, DeVenz mentions hard work and good recipes. “Wholesale contracts have kept us in business,” she says. “As just one example, since the 1970s we have been providing the hot dog buns for Northlands and now Rogers Place.”

Anita Jenkins is a retired writer and editor who lives in Boyle Street.

An Italian Bakery in Chinatown

Why is an Italian bakery in the middle of what is now Chinatown?

Antonio and Aurora Frattin opened a small bakery on 93rd Street in 1960, and in 1962 moved to the current location on 97th Street. At the time, many recent Italian immigrants like the Frattins lived, worked, and played in that neighbourhood. The 97th Street location included an apartment above the business, which was the Frattin family’s home. Five children grew up in the apartment and helped to operate the family business from their earliest years. 

The new structure includes an apartment that was meant to be a retirement residence for Antonio and Aurora. Sadly, though, they both died in 2022.

Subscribe to our newsletter

News from the neighbourhood delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up and stay in touch!