Volume 78 / Number 8 - July 23 - 29, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since

Not much cooking in Vesuvio renovation: Bakery will reopen

By Gabriel Zucker

Since June, a small sign has hung on the door of Vesuvio Bakery, the nearly 90-year-old landmark shop on Prince St.

“We will be closed for the next couple of weeks undergoing renovations. We hope to see you in a couple of weeks,” the sign states.

Three weeks later, with no signs of work going on inside, concerns have grown in the neighborhood about what the store’s owners — who succeeded Tony Dapolito, the late “Mayor of Greenwich Village,” in 2003 — might be cooking up.

“Hopefully, he’s just going to renovate the interior,” said Sean Sweeney, director of the Soho Alliance. “I’m scared he’s going to tear down the storefront.”

Sweeney and other locals can rest easy, however. After a week off for vacation, Vesuvio merely began routine repairs on the bakery’s coal ovens, some of the last of their type in the city.

“This is a long process and messy, and we couldn’t keep the place open because the work is all-consuming downstairs in the basement,” wrote Andrew Veniopoulos, the bakery’s owner and operator, in an e-mail.

He assured he never had any intention of replacing the coal ovens the bakery has used for years.

“No, I have not felt any pressure,” he wrote. “We actually use a very small amount [of coal]. The ovens, properly maintained, sustain the heat for a very long time on their own.”

Despite the two weeks cited on his door, Veniopoulos expects the work to be done next month.

“I hope to open in August sometime with the smell of fresh bread to wake my neighbors,” he said.

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