It’s not every day that memories of my childhood hometown mesh so seamlessly with life in my current town, but one new business in Cranford has made that happen. Alfonso’s Pastry Shoppe — family-owned since 1970 in Staten Island — has opened a new location on South Ave., and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into the beloved pastries of my youth again.
I grew up just up the street from the original Alfonso’s (I lived on Mountainview Ave and my mother still lives there!), and still remember when the Campitiellos moved their shop to the Victory Blvd location from Manor Rd in 1978! Brothers Vincent and Anthony Campitiello took over the business from their father, Alfonso, who opened the original bakery after perfecting his craft while baking at the esteemed Plaza Hotel and serving as pastry chef at The Hampshire House. And here is a fantastic bit of trivia… did you know that Alfonso’s Bakery had a cameo in the 1983 Rodney Dangerfield Movie “Easy Money”?? It was called “Alfonso’s Bakery and Sgungilli ” and was the shop where the characters of Monty Capuletti (Rodney Dangerfield) and Nicky Cerone (Joe Pesci) pick up the wedding cake of Monty’s daughter Allison (Jennifer Jason Leigh). It was SO fun to see my neighborhood in that classic comedy! Check it out here….. RoadTrippers article!
The Campitiellos first heard of Cranford last Christmas from their friends who own Pastosa Ravioli Cranford. According to Christine Campitiello, the family came to scout the Cranford location in January “and we just immediately fell in love with the town!” Sounds familiar, right? So many people share that sentiment.
If you’ve ever been to the other two Alfonso’s locations, you’ll note that their Cranford bakery has a markedly different decor inside–a sleek, contemporary gray color scheme with big crystal chandeliers twinkling overhead. It’s cool and trendy, yet the showstoppers are the desserts themselves, which will appeal to everyone’s tastes.
Christine tells us that their cannoli and lobster tails are flying off the shelves. I know I’m dying to get my hands on some of their rainbow cake with cannoli cream filling–a unique take on the ubiquitous rainbow cookie.
Speaking of cookies–look no further than Alfonso’s if you’re in need of an impressive cookie tray or holiday-themed shaped cookies. And my mother still swears that Alfonzo’s Linzer cookies are the best around. Of course their cakes are nothing to sneeze at either, and they can create elaborate custom cakes for your special events.
Hot coffee is always brewing at Alfonso’s, and there’s plenty of free parking in the lot behind the Riverfront shops, and metered street parking out front as well.
So treat yourself to Alfonso’s cannoli and sit outside, taking in the bustling new scene that is Cranford’s South Ave. You won’t be sorry you came.
Alfonso’s is located at 200 South Ave. East, next door to Pastosa Ravioli. The shop is open Tuesday through Saturday from 7 am to 7 pm, Sunday from 7 am to 5 pm (closed Mondays). www.alfonsospastries.com