Crafting cannolis since 1949, Eagle Rock Italian Bakery and Deli is a generational labor of love

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eagle rock italian bakery
A view of the Eagle Rock Italian Bakery and Deli from Eagle Rock Boulevard in Los Angeles, CA. Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. Lachlan Ashenmiller/The Occidental.

Eagle Rock Italian Bakery and Deli on Colorado Boulevard has some of the top-ranked cannolis in the U.S., shelves of imported Italian products and a take-a-number ordering system. In 1961, owner Nick Cafarchia bought the Eagle Rock location of the shop, which was originally founded in 1949. Nick Cafarchia’s son, Anthony Cafarchia said he currently manages the bakery along with his brother.

As someone who has always worked in the back of the house, Anthony Cafarchia said he is proud of their cannolis because they use fresh Italian products — two types of Italian ricotta. In addition to cannolis, Anthony Cafarchia said they also sell cookies, cakes, deli meats, cheeses, sauces and freshly baked bread.

Anthony Cafachia said his father learned to bake at the espresso bar his family ran in Italy and then worked as a bread baker upon immigrating to the U.S.

“My grandmother always baked so it was in his bloodline,” Anthony Cafarchia said.

Anthony Cafarchia said his father incorporated the deli along with the bakery once he bought the business. The management switched from his father over to him and his brother in recent months. Having never attended culinary school, Anthony Cafarchia said all of their recipes come from his father.

“We learned everything hands-on, right here,” Anthony Cafarchia said.

a worker at the italian bakery
A worker assists a customer at the Italian Bakery in Eagle Rock, CA. Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. Lachlan Ashenmiller/The Occidental.
treats at eagle rock italian bakery
An assortment of baked goods at the Eagle Rock Italian Bakery and Deli in Los Angeles, CA. Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. Lachlan Ashenmiller/The Occidental.

Anthony Cafarchia said Eagle Rock Italian Bakery and Deli offers a unique addition to the community. Now in his 50s, Anthony Cafarchia said there are customers who have been coming in since he started working at the bakery after high school.

Shift manager Rodolfo Ayon said he stumbled upon the job 12 years ago when a friend recommended he apply. Ayon said he has enjoyed getting to know the customers of the shop.

“I think it has a feel of home because the bakery’s been here such a long time that customers are locals that have come here since they were little kids,” Ayon said.

As a shift manager, Ayon said he helps out wherever he can.

“It’s not like a regular job, you kind of have to pick up other tasks,” Ayon said. “You’re not only assigned to one thing. If somebody needs help with cookies, then you have to go in and step up.”

According to Ayon, the learning process behind his job has made it more enjoyable.

“I actually do like it. It has its moments, — it can be stressful such as when you’re running out of ingredients and stuff like that — but other than that everything’s smooth,” Ayon said. “Once you know your routine then everything flows.”

treats at eagle rock italian bakery
Sweet treats sit behind the display glass at the Italian Bakery in Los Angeles, CA. Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. Lachlan Ashenmiller/The Occidental.

Having worked at Eagle Rock Italian Bakery and Deli for so long, Ayon said he has built meaningful relationships with his customers. One of these treasured relationships is with an older man who frequents the bakery.

“One gentleman that comes in always waits for me. He only gets two to three rolls, but he always waits for me,” Ayon said.

Highland Park resident Joe Tumay moved from New York four years ago and said he has been visiting the business for about a year now whenever he is craving Italian treats. Tumay regularly orders a pignoli and said the intimate atmosphere evokes a sense of nostalgia for him. He also said the staff’s efficiency is impressive.

“It’s just super cool and old school, the service is really good and everyone’s just super straightforward,” Tumay said. “They’ve obviously been doing it for a long time and have kind of nailed it.”