Vesuvio Bakery

Cass Calder Smith Architecture + Interiors completed the Vesuvio Bakery relaunch, opening under new owners but keeping the historic charm.

The historic Vesuvio bakery has been a long-standing institution in New York’s Soho district since opening in 1920. Its iconic lime green storefront is widely recognized by native New Yorkers and tourists alike. Owned by Anthony Dapolito, the bakery remained in the family until 2003, when Dapolito passed away, leaving the bakery’s fate unknown. Eventually, the bakery closed, and the city mourned both Dapolito and the bakery itself. The owners of City Bakery reclaimed the space for a few years, keeping the original façade as an homage to the old Vesuvio, but closed in 2019, not filling the monumental shoes of the historic Vesuvio bakery. Again, the bakery remained vacant until February 2020. It was finally purchased and re-opened by local restauranteur, Adam Block, retaining the iconic Vesuvio name and restoring the historic bakery to its former glory.

Adam wanted to celebrate the simplicity and timelessness of the old Vesuvio and classic New York while also giving it a contemporary Italian design feel. Architect Cass Calder Smith restored the bakery façade was to its original landmark state, stripping forty coasts of paint, patching the wood, and repainting it to the same actual green color. The awning was replaced to match the original with its front valence signage painted the same. The glass storefront and original signage were also kept. The steel threshold was so old that it had beautifully worn through from so many years of foot traffic; it was saved and refurbished. Even the original door handle and mail slot were refurbished. The entire 500 square-foot interiors had been discarded over the years – an empty shell with brick walls was all that was left.

A new interior was built out to meet today’s functional needs and be an evolution from the past. The brick walls were scrubbed clean and sealed, and the ceiling was replaced with pressed tin similar to the original. CCS designed a compartmentalized bread wall for bread sales and as a backdrop and installed an Italian Carrara stone display counter for pastries and sales. The wood is stained white oak, and the details are satin brass. The lighting is a combination of vintage and new – all with brass details. As found in old photographs, mimicking the original storefront, one of the display windows showcases elaborately braided loaves of bread. The opposite window features the old dough sheeter from the basement, a shrine to Anthony Dapolito and the past.

Although the vintage baking ovens are still in the basement, they were decommissioned many years ago beyond repair, and now everything is baked off-site nearby. Aside from pastries, a variety of loaves are baked daily in limited quantities so locals and visitors can buy fresh bread until it runs out, which is how Anthony Dapolito operated.

Design: Cass Calder Smith Architecture + Interiors
Photography: Shannon Sturgis