A cofounder of popular Red Hook dessert shop Baked is venturing out on his own to open an Italian bakery next month.
Renato Poliafito will bring Ciao, Gloria, an all-day cafe that nods to his Italian-American background, to Prospect Heights toward the end of September at 550 Vanderbilt Avenue, near Pacific Street. Former Baked baker Ginger Fisher Baldwin helped create a cafe menu of coffee, desserts, and sandwiches.
Baked goods like croissants filled with pistachio and almond creams, fruit crostatas, and doughnut-like bombolonis will be sold, as well as lunch fare like soups, toasts, and pizzas. Sandwiches will include a BEC on brioche, a Sicilian-style hero, and prosciutto and fig on focaccia inspired by Rome’s popular Le Levain bakery.
Poliafito wants it to be the kind of place where diners can grab a coffee and pastry to go or linger around into the afternoon. Though Ciao, Gloria won’t serve dinner, he plans to host monthly pasta nights devoted to the different regions of Italy.
Poliafito and friend Matt Lewis opened Baked — still one of the best places to eat in Red Hook, known for its salty brownies, cupcakes, and pies — in 2005. The bakery expanded to Tribeca in 2014 and also opened a location in Tokyo, though the Manhattan location closed earlier this year. Poliafito stepped away from Baked about two years ago to focus on opening Ciao, Gloria, which he says marks a return to his Italian-American roots.
Ciao, Gloria opens in late September. Stay tuned.