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New Oakmont Bakery promises more great food, expanded service |
Food & Drink

New Oakmont Bakery promises more great food, expanded service

Candy Williams
| Tuesday, January 22, 2019 11:00 a.m
Oakmont Bakery
Salatos are similar to pizza dough, filled with mashed potatoes, Italian sausage, peppers and onions.
Oakmont Bakery
Valentine’s Day at Oakmont Bakery includes special dessert items, such as this Cupid Torte featuring four layers of red velvet cake, filled and iced with cream cheese/buttercream blend icing and topped with chocolate ganache.
Oakmont Bakery
Salatos, a new savory bakery item created by general manager Tony Serrao, will debut with the opening of the new Oakmont Bakery facility.
Oakmont Bakery
Paczki season starts early at Oakmont Bakery, where the popular filled doughnuts in 15 flavors will be available through Lent.
Oakmont Bakery
Muffins, pastries, pecan rolls and more fill the display cases at Oakmont Bakery.
Oakmont Bakery
The new location for Oakmont Bakery is scheduled to open in early February.

Loyal customers of Oakmont Bakery can almost smell the freshly baked bread, bagels and rolls and taste the buttercream frosting and chocolate ganache as they drive past the soon-to-open facility just off the Hulton Bridge.

The new building, located about a half-mile from the bakery’s current location on Allegheny Avenue in Oakmont Borough, is in its final phase of construction, according to owner Marc Serrao. It’s due to open in early February, in plenty of time for ordering Valentine’s Day goodies.

The new space is large – at 19,000 square feet, nearly three times the size of the current 7,000-square-foot headquarters for Oakmont Bakery’s full line of specialty and seasonal bakery products.

“One woman told me she passed by the building and said, ‘that’s not a bakery – that’s a Macy’s,’” Serrao says with a laugh.

Modern European design

The new two-story structure features floor-to-ceiling windows and parking lot that will accommodate 110 vehicles, a big improvement from the current lot that parks eight. The owner says the Modern European interior decor was selected by him and his wife Susan and designed by Desmone Architects; contractor is PWCampbell of O’Hara.

Customers will notice additional cash registers and expanded display cases with kiosks to order and pick up baked goods. The bakery also will offer an app to place orders by smartphone to cut down on lines, Serrao said.

The cafe area, where full breakfasts and lunches will be prepared, features seating for 80 guests inside and 80 more outside. The bakery currently serves 350 brunches and lunches on Saturdays and 200 on other days of the week.

Both the retail and cake decorating areas will be three times larger than the current bakery with two additional ovens and a new steam oven for raised breads. The second floor will house offices, restrooms and an expanded area for employees, which Serrao says he’s “most excited about.”

“Our employees are the heart of our business and part of our family,” he says. “The beautiful new break room will include a kitchen area and much more space.”

Currently Oakmont Bakery employs 110 with an additional 20 employees expected to be added at the new location.

Savory new treat

One of the new bakery items that will debut at the new location when it opens are Salatos (which means “savory” in Italian, Serrao notes), created by his son, Tony Serrao, general manager and one of several family members who work for the business.

“Salatos are sort of like pizza dough – about the size of a meatball – filled with mashed potatoes, Italian sausage, peppers and onions,” he says. “We wanted something savory. Tony came up with them and everybody has to try them.”

The bakery already is selling its popular paczki (Polish for “little package” and pronounced “poonch-key”), which are filled doughnuts traditionally offered on “Fat Tuesday,” the day before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent.

“We started making them early – for Twelfth Night on Jan. 6 – and offering them through Lent, and we sold thousands,” Serrao says. “We sell 5,000 on Fat Tuesday alone. It’s quite a production.”

Paczkis are made with several different jelly and cream fillings. Pittsburgh Cream, with its light, white cream filling, is the most popular, he says.

Sweet seasons

In the coming weeks, Oakmont Bakery will offer its Easter specialties of cakes, pies, cookies, rolls and sweet Paska bread.

“Easter is a whole week of busy, second only to Christmas, which is our busiest month,” Serrao says.

Wedding season will follow from April to December, when the bakery typically creates from 20 to 45 wedding cakes a week, in addition to up to 250 special occasion cakes on some Saturdays.

Other Serrao family members who work at the bakery include Tony’s wife, Samantha, who handles social media; Marc’s daughter, Stephanie Bittinger, operations director; his son-in-law Billy O’Block, and sisters Maria, Ann and Marcia, who have been with the business since it was started 31 years ago as of this May.

Serrao says he is looking forward to the opening of the new bakery location, which is the realization of a dream for him and his family.

“I’m so happy,” he says. “It’s a happy business.”

The move into the new facility in early February is expected to take one day, with the new bakery opening the next day, Serrao says. A grand opening will be held at a later date.

Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

Categories: Features | Food Drink
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