The Reopening of a Landmark: Zaro’s Bakery

The Front entrance of Zaro's Bakery in Parkchester.

The Front entrance of Zaro’s Bakery in Parkchester. (Photo by Sonya Kedarnath)

By Sonya Kedarnath

On a recent Monday afternoon, a few passersby enter a Zaro’s Bakery to get a quick bite to eat, or a drink. In the café area, customers there are reading newspapers or conversing with fellow friends.

“The coffee is delicious!” says Tracy, a frequent client of Zaro’s, who refused to give her surname because she was rushing. The Parkchester branch of Zaro’s Bakery has a reputation for reasonably priced goods. To the employees’ dismay, the bakery’s new ownership has incurred in a number of violations. “I wonder why they had so many” Tracy said about the violations.

As many residents of Parkchester may know, the area is a widely and densely populated neighborhood. It started off with 12,000 families and has now increased to 24,837 families and counting. Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Italian, and Irish are some of the nationalities that reside there. With their support, these people contribute to the growing businesses that are in the region.

One of the highly grossing businesses in the area is Zaro’s Bakery, which has been heavily impacted by health violations and has since been temporarily shut down in April of 2013 to the reopening on May 7th 2013.

The most pressure was when the bakery was closed by the New York City Health Department because of the need to fix and renovate. Zaro’s Bakery was shut down because of 64 violations. Some of these violations included bad plumbing and immovable equipment in the restaurant. Some people think Zaro’s Bakery will quickly return to the normal business, while others think the employees will just make the same mistakes again.

Karen Husband, a dweller of Parkchester, who has been in a generation of families who has lived in the area for about four decades, is opinionated about the occurrences at Zaro’s Bakery concerning Zaro’s violations. She feels that there is no use in having so many eateries in the Parkchester area. Some eateries include Ellie’s Diner, Applebee’s, and Mr. Pizza.

When asked about the importance of Zaro’s, on a sidewalk by Parkchester, Husband feels that Zaro’s should be the one to go because of the high prices, to her. The prices are high to her because of her financial situation. Husband says Zaro’s is “useless, they should make it into a museum.” She expected the bakery to have violations, because of the poor maintenance levels behind the counters. Husband seems to have no motive to eat there again because of the disgust in her tone about the subject of Zaro’s.

Susan T., an employee at Zaro’s Bakery, has been working there for about one and a half years. She refused to give her full last name due to instructions by her manager at her job. She has been around before the closing and after the reopening. When asked about the violations, Susan said, “it was disappointing, honestly, I saw the violations coming,” she said, mentioning the bakery’s lack of proper bakery equipment. Susan believes the employees are working harder now, because of the reputation they have gained.

Many customers were surprised about the violations, but have been patronizing Zaro’s since it reopened. “From the high sales of our products, the community of Parkchester is reacting well to the reopening” Susan said. She said she believes that, the restaurant is working diligently to maintain its facilities and give the customers what they want.

Parkchester is known for its great diversity in business, one of which is Zaro’s Bakery. The wide space has brought many new innovators to the area.

According to Zaro’s website, in 1927, Joseph Zaro first set out from Eastern Europe to Ellis Island. Then, he built and opened his first bakery, in 1977, in the Grand Central Station in Manhattan, called Zaro’s Bread Basket, courtesy of Zaro’s website. His sons carried on the family bakery that is now in areas such as New York and Pennsylvania.

Zaro’s Bakery sells a variety of coffees and pastries. From hazelnut flavored coffee to strawberry cheesecake, there is something to please every customer. Throughout the many years of business, Zaro’s Bakery has gained much recognition for its fine quality of food, according to a cashier at Zaro’s Bakery

An array of items in Zaro's Bakery in Parkchester. (Photo by Pablo Gutierrez via Minube)

An array of items in Zaro’s Bakery in Parkchester. (Photo by Pablo Gutierrez via Minube)

Another customer is Brenda Agosto, a former Parkchester resident. Agosto now lives in the South Bronx, and commutes from time to time. Agosto travels back to Parkchester to see relatives and to snack on some goods from Zaro’s Bakery. When asked for her opinion about the bakery’s closure, Agosto replied, “the quality of the food was good, you would not expect a place like Zaro’s Bakery to have so many violations.”

Zaro’s Bakery is a disputed topic among many residents of Parkchester. While some feel there is much that still needs fixing, others feel that Zaro’s will overcome its past issues.Commenting on the bakery’s staff, Nandrani Gobin, a frequent shopper in Parkchester, said, “it would be better for them to start fresh and have another chance, rather than getting persecuted.”

The familiar Zaro's Bakery logo. (Photo by Anonymous)

The familiar Zaro’s Bakery logo. (Photo by Anonymous)

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