Happy 100th Birthday, Madonia Bakery in The Bronx!

Madonia Bakery on Arthur Avenue in The Bronx is celebrating its 100th anniversary. What a milestone. Not only are those connected with this family-owned business excited, but the bakery’s many customers are excited, too. Located in the Belmont section, the bakery, of course, serves the community. But fans also travel, in some cases long distances, to stock up on the traditional breads, cookies, biscoti, cannoli, and other treats Madonia continues to produce.

Peter Madonia

The bakery’s founder, Mario Madonia, immigrated from Sicily. In 1918, he opened the first Madonia on Adams Place in the Bronx, moving 14 years later to its larger location on Arthur Avenue. In the 1960s, Mario’s sons, Pete and Frank, took over running the bakery. In 1982, the third generation represented by Pete’s son, Mario, stepped in. Tragedy struck when Mario was killed in a car crash when he was only 38. His brother, Peter, who had earned a master’s degree in urban studies at the University of Chicago, was working as a deputy commissioner for the New York Fire Department. Family came first, and Peter left the NYFD to run the bakery. 

After managing the bakery for six years, Peter took on a partner, Charlie LaLima, who had been working as a baker in Brooklyn. When Charlie came on board, Peter was able to return to work in the public sector, becoming first Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s chief of staff, and then the chief operating officer of the Rockefeller Foundation. Peter’s father, Pete, died last year, so Peter retired from the Rockefeller Foundation and returned to run the bakery.

Fennel Raisin Bread

We visited the bakery recently, stocking up on our own favorites and being greeted by Peter himself. He graciously agreed to talk with us about Madonia and what it means to be celebrating as the Italians say, cent’anni. Click to listen to the interview on SoundCloud. Click to go to the website for Madonia Bakery.

About Charlene Giannetti (676 Articles)
Charlene Giannetti, editor of Woman Around Town, is the recipient of seven awards from the New York Press Club for articles that have appeared on the website. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Charlene began her career working for a newspaper in Pennsylvania, then wrote for several publications in Washington covering environment and energy policy. In New York, she was an editor at Business Week magazine and her articles have appeared in many newspapers and magazines. She is the author of 13 non-fiction books, eight for parents of young adolescents written with Margaret Sagarese, including "The Roller-Coaster Years," "Cliques," and "Boy Crazy." She and Margaret have been keynote speakers at many events and have appeared on the Today Show, CBS Morning, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and many others. Her last book, "The Plantations of Virginia," written with Jai Williams, was published by Globe Pequot Press in February, 2017. Her podcast, WAT-CAST, interviewing men and women making news, is available on Soundcloud and on iTunes. She is one of the producers for the film "Life After You," focusing on the opioid/heroin crisis that had its premiere at WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival, where it won two awards. The film is now available to view on Amazon Prime, YouTube, and other services. Charlene and her husband live in Manhattan.