When Annette and Dan Babilon decided to open DeLuca’s Bakery, they chose a storefront in Upper Lawrenceville which for decades housed Frank’s Bakery and later Artisan Harvest. And when they launched the shop in early February of this year, the community welcomed them with open arms. “Everyone in the neighborhood is excited that [this space] reopened as a bakery,” says Dan Babilon.
Not that they’re new to the baking biz. Annette’s parents own the long-standing DeLuca’s Bakery in Brookline (no relation to the famous Strip District restaurant). She herself has been baking professionally for 20 years, and thanks to her experience as a wholesaler, the Lawrenceville location has hit the ground running.
It’s a charming spot, with dark wood and a cozy display area from which you can glimpse the spacious kitchen. Almost everything is made in-house; anything that isn’t is brought daily from the Brookline location. In a neighborhood teeming with niche-y, boutique-style businesses, DeLuca’s is refreshingly no-nonsense, specializing in traditional Italian breads, pastries and cookies (the sort you’d be likely to find at a Pittsburgh wedding), as well as sandwiches made with Boar’s Head meats and cheeses.
Those sandwiches are a draw: “We have a good lunch following,” says Babilon, adding that, sweets-wise, ladylocks and apple handpies are big sellers. “I’ve always been partial to the tiramisu,” Babilon admits, “but my wife’s cheesecakes are probably my favorite.” He may be biased, but this reporter can confirm that the mini-cheesecakes are not to be missed.