LOCAL PROFILES: Monica von thun Calderón - Grandaisy Bakery (6.6.18)
While we love to try new places, we are also incredibly passionate about returning to our local neighborhood go-tos. One of our favorites, Tribeca's Grandaisy Bakery, solves for both: Their breads and pizzas are always incredible, and their seasonal, ever-changing menu of specialties means we're always trying something new. We spoke with owner and founder Monica von thun Calderón to learn more about this classic downtown bakery, and what you can expect to see from them this summer as they celebrate 10 years in Tribeca.
Tell us about Grandaisy Bakery...
I founded Grandaisy Bakery in 2006 intent on keeping the traditions of artisan baking alive. My team and I tagged ourselves as the defenders of the art of handcrafted bread. Bread baking is tough, the schedule, the hours and the physicality make it a labor of love.
My grandmother Daisy, whom we always referred to as Grandaisy was a strong matriarch who inspired and supported my endeavors. She was also a fan of good loaf of bread. Naming my bakery for her means that no matter the challenges I’m dealing with, I can smile and remember her when I start my day at the bakery, see one of our vans drive by, or just hear a someone mention their Grandaisy Bakery experience.
What makes Grandaisy Bakery so unique?
Grandaisy Bakery was born from a desire to recreate and reintroduce the food and lifestyles I experienced working and living in Northern Italy. Bread baked with wild yeast starters, shaped into different loaves based on what they would be used for - a panini, a scarpetta (to clean up the plate of a great sauce) and so forth. While the ovens cooled from their 500° baking temperatures it was possible to bake off simple sweets such as a crostata and brioche rolls- a sweet side effect in the name of efficiency. These are traditions we strive to reproduce to create a unique process and experience.
One of the aspects of Grandaisy Bakery that really excites me is our team. The bakery truly is a team effort and we are all constantly learning from each other. The people who work at Grandaisy Bakery come from many backgrounds and countries. Together our team speaks over ten languages, including ASL. Despite all the differences we come together to create a community, as well as some excellent baked goods, and a space for people to meet and taste some unique flavors. Our great products and sense of community draw people to us, supporting our endeavor and keeping the process going.
How has Tribeca impacted the evolution of Grandaisy Bakery?
Most importantly, Tribeca has provided Grandaisy Bakery a welcome home. We love our corner bakeshop across from Tribeca Park and are grateful to be part of a community that appreciates great baked goods and makes our shop their place to meet up for a treat.
What should locals know about Grandaisy Bakery?
There are a number of “best kept secrets” at Grandaisy Bakery:
We have a walk up window on West Broadway to make it easy to get coffee and pastries on the go, even if you have a pet with you. It’s convenient as well as picturesque, one of the most defining features of our storefront!
Those in the know call on our catering department who help make it very easy to throw a party.
It is possible to share some Grandaisy love via ecommerce. (I won’t be with my mom this mother’s day, but she will have some Grandaisy cake to enjoy.)
You may have already tasted some of our excellent bread at any of over 200 restaurants who get our fresh loaves daily.
We have lots of fun giving bakery space tours and a chance to see a bread being made in their own neighborhood to school kids in our area.
I love that we are able give back to our community by participating in local events such as the upcoming Taste of Tribeca, which will benefit arts programs at local schools. We often donate spreads of our flatbreads or desserts to functions that benefit many groups and causes dear to us. We don't really advertise, so this is how we make sure our community knows that we care about supporting them just as much as they support us.
What's coming up for Grandaisy Bakery in 2018?
In June we celebrate our tenth year in Tribeca. We are making the celebration an opportunity to strengthen our commitment to the environment, partnering with the start-up Commit to Green to use reusable compostable bags in our store and implement sustainable alternatives to the plastic utensils and straws that are currently in use.
Keep an eye out for new flavors of flatbreads and returning seasonal pastries and sandwiches for the summer! A perennial favorite is the panino caprese made with imported mozzarella di bufala and heirloom tomatoes. We only make it once the tomatoes are are available at the farmers market – a true sign of the change of seasons.
What are your favorite local spots (asides your own)?
I don’t have to go far to find some of our favorite spots - Cafe Clementine, Gotan, Pepolino, Petrarca, Terra and Tribeca Grill. They happen to serve our excellent loaves of bread as well - Always on the job, when we stop in for a bite to eat, I can confirm our bread meets the high expectations we have set at Grandaisy Bakery.