Baking Yuletide Cheer At Potito’s

 

Untitled

Taking a customer’s order for Christmas week pick-up | Photo: Theresa Stigale

Stand outside Potito’s Bakery at 16th and Ritner in South Philly on any given day and the sweet aroma of homemade cookies and cakes greets you before you even open the door.

In past years, the lines on Christmas Eve for this family-owned South Philly Italian American bakery have formed as early as 4:45AM and owners Matthew (Matty) and Cristina Benigno expect the same next week. Santa usually makes an appearance that day to entertain the customers before closing up shop at 6:00PM.

Just how different are the weeks leading up to Christmas, compared to say, a week in June? “It’s now or never like the Elvis song,” says Matty. “Business is up about 1000 percent,” with not just walk-in customers but all of the outside orders for corporate gifts and custom cakes and cookie trays for parties. “Controlled chaos with a capital C,” chimed in a bakery worker. It’s obvious that the owners and staff enjoy the extra buzz and, most importantly, helping their customers, many of whom are neighbors and friends.

Untitled

Handmade cookies by Antonio | Photo: Theresa Stigale

Cristina’s parents, Carmen and Maria Potito, opened the bakery more than 30 years ago. In 2009, the year Carmen passed away, Matty and Cristina bought the business. Cristina’s grandfather Antonio still works his craft behind the scenes in the basement bakery kitchen, rolling dough by hand for many of his creations.

Over the years, the business has expanded to include high-end wedding and exotic specialty cakes, like the one designed for former Phillies player Shane Victorino, and recently into new markets, like Center City (in 2012 Potito’s moved into one of the retail storefronts at 1315 Walnut, where Hidden City’s offices are located) and Spring Garden. Visitors are always happily surprised to see the “Colossal Cannoli,” created by Matty, for events and parties. At $99, there are 60 mini cannoli nestled inside an impressive two-foot cannoli.

Untitled

Cookie trays ready for pick-up and delivery with extra on-hand for last minute gifts | Photo: Theresa Stigale

Honeyballs, cannolis, vibrant red cakes wrapped in fondant like a gift box, green cupcake wreaths, Ricotta cakes, anisette biscotti, cannoli trees are all available, but the stars of the season are traditional Italian cookies. “It’s all about the cookies,” says Matty. “Starting at about $16 to $19/pound, we have Italian and butter cookies. Everything is made fresh here on site, the cookies are not imported from elsewhere. We use real authentic ingredients like almond paste, the best we can get.”

This is indeed the season for the bakery to deliver the goods. So take a number. It’s now or never. The cookies can’t wait.

Potito’s Bakery at 16th and Ritner 

Photographs by Theresa Stigale

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

 

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

About the author

Theresa Stigale was born and raised in Southwest Philly. She earned a B.B.A. from Temple University in 1983. Theresa is a photographer as well as a licensed Pennsylvania Real Estate Broker, developer and instructor. In the past ten years, she has documented the loft conversion projects that she and her partners have completed in Philadelphia, from stately old abandoned warehouses covered with graffiti to vintage factories, some still active with manufacturing. Visit her web site at TheresaStigalePhotography.com.

Send a message!



Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
On The Hunt For Brains, Discovering The Wistar Institute

On The Hunt For Brains, Discovering The Wistar Institute

February 21, 2018  |  Vantage

Mickey Herr dissects the origins of the Wistar Institute and examines the brain of a man that turned the medical world on its head > more

Trading Brake Pads For Ballet Slippers On South Broad Street

Trading Brake Pads For Ballet Slippers On South Broad Street

February 19, 2018  |  The Shadow Knows

The Shadow waltzes through the history of an old auto dealership in South Philly that has been a hub of classical dance training for over 30 years > more

Riding The Rails On Pennsylvania's Original Turnpike

Riding The Rails On Pennsylvania’s Original Turnpike

February 16, 2018  |  Harry K's Encyclopedia

As Phase One of the Reading Viaduct Rail Park sets to open this spring, Harry K. takes us on a ride along the Philadelphia & Columbia Railroad, one of the earliest railroads in America > more

New Schuylkill River Trail Extension Now Open

New Schuylkill River Trail Extension Now Open

February 15, 2018  |  Buzz

Michael Bixler takes us on a stroll down the newest segment of the Schuylkill River Trail > more

Replicas Of William Rush Originals Return To Fairmount Water Works

Replicas Of William Rush Originals Return To Fairmount Water Works

February 14, 2018  |  News

Missing for decades, two signature sculptures come home to Fairmount Water Works. A. Leonard Pundt has the details on how conservation efforts and carefully-crafted reproductions brought the iconic public artwork back to life > more

Discovering My Family's Place In The Workshop Of The World

Discovering My Family’s Place In The Workshop Of The World

February 12, 2018  |  Vantage

In Port Richmond, Amy Cohen has a chance encounter with her family's industrial past when she happens upon a sign for her grandfather's old business, the Philadelphia Rust-Proof Company > more