27 May 2009

The Secret Bakery Goes Silent

One attraction in my neighborhood that I have never written about since beginning this blog three and a half years ago is The Secret Bakery.

That's the name my wife, my son and I gave to a small industrial bakery at 17 Carroll Street, near Van Brunt. Most days, except for Saturday, the roller shutter would go up on the plain brick building and the smell of bread baking would waft onto the street. It wasn't open Saturdays because the facility was kosher, producing the gourmet, kosher line of bread products called Healthy Delites.

I never blogged about it, because I didn't want to advertise—and thus, spoil—a neighborhood oddity that gave such pleasure to my family. You see, fairly often, when we felt sure The Secret Bakery was open, we would stroll over and stick our head inside the deep, narrow brick building. The Spanish-speaking workers inside were friendly and approachable. We found out early that they were willing to sell a hot loaf of bread, fresh out of the oven, on the premises. We would hand over $2 and they'd put a loaf of seven-grain bread or country white in a plastic band. It was so good, we would often eat half of it before getting home. (Not only was it fresh; it was also a bargain. Healthy Delite bread costs $4 at the nearby Fairway.)

I cherished the idea that a small sliver of Red Hook's industrial past still operated in our midst. Sometimes, we would take visiting relatives there and they would be delighted by the idea that such fine bread could be had through a simple exchange of money for goods, out of an unmarked building in the middle of a nondescript block.

Since Passover, however, the tiny bakery has stayed shut. I've checked it any number of times. I fear it may be closed forever.

Below is a photo I found on Flickr by another person who obviously liked the bakery.

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