Hey There! Where Did You Get All This Great Bread From? Why, Militello’s Bakery Of Course!
If you’re like me, one of your favorite parts of going out to eat is getting the bread before your appetizers come to the table. It’s the little gift the restaurant gives you to whet your appetite for a good meal. And if you’re at a quality eatery, you can expect some great pre-meal breads, but do you ever stop and think who bakes all that fabulous bread in our favorite eateries? Well if you’re in South Florida, chances are it comes from Militello’s Bakery.
I had the privilege of paying a visit to this ace bakery to meet the Militello family on a recent spring afternoon, and I must say, it was amazing. Upon entering the establishment, you are warmly and instantly greeted by the Militello family themselves, who still run the bakery’s day-to-day operations. The family composed of Frank, Frank Jr., Donna and Tom–all working side by side as a family at the bakery with their operations manager and honorary family member Brand Moon. The office is calm and friendly with an environment where everyone calmly handles their own end of the family business. I was taken to the back room where Frank’s office actually has a dining room table in it…how Italian are these guys! I asked Frank how he got into the business, and he said it all started back in Buffalo New York in 1975 when he opened his first bakery. It was then he recalls he fell in love with the business. Years later life would take Frank to South Florida where he stayed in the baking biz and went to work at a small bakery in Miami. At the new bakery Frank was a salesman out in the field, creating the leads and signing up accounts. He was doing well but the bakery seemed to be headed in the wrong direction as the owner began to sacrifice quality for profits. It was at this key moment that Frank saw an opportunity to re-enter the business with a bakery of his own. Frank and his son Frank Jr. teamed up with Brand Moon and Militello’s bakery was born. In less than 70 days, the business had to expand their small Boca bakery to handle all of the incoming orders.
Today Militello’s Bakery is housed in a giant warehouse right here in Fort Lauderdale. To step out on to the bakery floor is the equivalent of dying and going to Italian Heaven with breads and rolls cooking everywhere and filling the place with mouth watering aromas! The bakery is 26,000 feet of flour and dough being turned into wonderfully delicious foods for restaurant goers across the tri-county area. I asked Frank about the recipes for all these great baked goods, and he told me they were recipes handed down from his family in New York, but that he has tweaked just a touch to work better with Florida ingredients. The floor of the bakery is an amazingly modern and clean operation with high-end machinery everywhere and workers quickly moving dough to ovens and bread to packaging. Frank told Me Brand Moon is responsible for the floor design, and I must say he did a great job as the whole team moves with extreme efficiency. When I asked Brand about it he said everything at Militello’s is made to order, so precision is key–one extra roll gets wasted, and one to little means they don’t fill their order. Aside from Brand, Militello’s Bakery now employs over 40 other South Floridians in a host of different jobs from bakers to drivers. Frank Sr. still does all the sales, however. He says he likes to keep a personal touch with his clients. He adds “If anybody out there would like some of South Florida’s finest baked goods in their restaurant or establishment, please don’t hesitate to call. I’ll be happy to pack up and head over with some amazing samples for you to try.” Which, to be honest, is worth it in and of itself. I was lucky enough to get a bag of fresh samples to take home, and after I fought off the Chronicle staff off of them, I was able to actually enjoy some of it.
For those of us who are Italian, Militello’s baked goods are like a time machine, bringing you back to your grandmother’s kitchen table where she force fed you bread, pasta and meatballs until you were about to explode. For the rest of you out there, Militello’s breads will quite simply be the best you have ever had the privilege to butter. Before I left, I had the chance to ask Frank and Brand what their plans were for the future and the answer was like music to my ears, “desserts!” they said proudly, as the next phase of Militello’s bakery will be upscale Italian desserts like cannolis and pastries. That’s right folks, the company that gives us some of the finest baked goods in South Florida is going into the dessert business. My taste buds can’t even wait! To reach Militello’s Bakery call 954.771.4076.