On my way home from the Chiropractor, two towns away in in Clifton, NJ, I made a detour to visit Allwood Bakery for some treats for my family. Allwood has been a fixture in Clifton for over forty years. Unfortunately, it was just after 6 pm, and they were already closed. At the same time, however, I noticed that literally next door was a new bakery-café that I had never seen before.
It was still opened and quite busy (even though they too were supposed to close at 6 pm). I stopped in and discovered they had authentic baba-rums, cannolis, Napolians, Pignoli tarts, Cassatine Siciliane, mini and full-size cheese cakes, and other Italian classic pastries that were not among the more “contemporary” and “American” baked goods that are Allwood’s specialties.
Baba-rums always bring back fond memories of the Italian bakeries in New York City, where I often stopped with friends for cappuccino and conversation. They particularly reminded me of the famous De Robertis Pasticceria & Caffe, formerly located on First Avenue and 10th Street. The 110 year-old fourth-generation East Village fixture, with antique tiled floors and walls, closed its doors on December 5, 2014. The date had been particularly memorable, because it is my father’s 80th birthday.
So, what an amazing surprise when I found out that the shuttered New York City Italian-American bakery – a cultural stalwart – actually had replanted itself here, at 64 ½ Market Street in Clifton, less than five miles from my suburban house! Now called DeRolicious Delights, they serve the same pastries, cookies, cakes, and pies from the same family recipes, and they are the same people! Dana De Robertis and her brother John Jr., both fourth generation, still work behind the counter. They still pour extra rum atop the heaping cannoli cream-filled baba-rums, and my mouth still watered as I watched the rum seep into the cake and filling. Dana told me she has been living in Clifton for 30 years. “Finally, we don’t have to commute,” she said.
DeRolicious doesn’t have the old, big dining room with antique wooden furniture. It’s a small counter-service space with out-door-only seating, perfect for the summer, as they also serve home-made Italian ices and iced espresso. Their authentic tradition has been carried on, but they have moved into the 21st Century. While they are open to walk-ins Monday-Saturday 8 am to 6 pm and Sunday 8 am to 4 pm, their products are available through their website (deroliciousdelights.com) via pickup, phone & Internet mail order, and of course, the phone number is 1-844-EST-1904!