At Hometown Bake Shop it’s all about the pies—sweet pies, savory pies—but there is also a vast array of sweet treats, breakfast specials, homemade breads and biscuits.
On Little Neck Road in Centerport just off 25A, Hometown Bake Shop is the latest venture of Luigi Aloe, owner of the ever popular Black & Blue Seafood Chophouse in Huntington, and his pastry chef Danna Abrams.
I happened to be having lunch in Black & Blue recently, when I tried one of their signature desserts: the butter cake. I can honestly say, it the most moist, buttery cake I have ever had in my life. It was beyond delicious. The waiter then told me about Hometown Bake Shop which had opened this past March 14 on National Pie Day.
Danna Abrams, a full time pastry chef and busy mother of three, started in the kitchen early, working as a teenager in T.K.’s Galley Restaurant in Halesite. She then went on to work in the kitchen of the Cold Spring Harbor Beach Club. She took a break for a few years and attended college where she became a sculptor. Shortly thereafter, she realized where her true love was—in the kitchen.
“I grew up in a family who always cooked,” says Abrams. “I’ve never not cooked. I have had no formal training. What I consider formal training is working your way up through a kitchen.”
And that is just what chef Abrams has done. She had worked at Black & Blue as pastry chef and head baker for a year and a half, and also sold her products at local farmers markets. Her dream was to open up a bakery. Now all the desserts for Black & Blue are made in Centerport and are shipped over fresh to Huntington each day.
Hometown Bake Shop has a wonderful feel to it. There are several booths and tables where you can sit and enjoy a slice of pie with a cup of Southdown Coffee, which is offered brewed by the cup, or in ground form in bags to take home. The shop itself is modern industrial, yet warm and inviting with a beautiful tin ceiling and an airy, open kitchen.
Close to 30 sweet pies are available for order, and on any given day, there will be several types of pies to choose from. The selection changes daily. They have everything from apple pie, pumpkin pie, Boston cream pie and strawberry rhubarb pie, to several unique pies such as a wet bottom shoofly pie, a toast and jam pie, a Bourbon black bottom walnut, and a buttermilk with oats crust. One of their most popular pies is the chocolate salted caramel with a pretzel crust.
As for the savory pies, there are about 25 of those, which also rotate daily or can be special ordered. They have chicken pot pie, shepherd’s pot pie, Thanksgiving pie, lobster mac and cheese, spinach pie, Nanna’s meatball pie, heirloom tomato pie and more. The list of what chef Abrams can make is endless.
“We joke about that I am an Italian-Jew. Every recipe is very much like that, homemade,” says Abrams. “Like my Grandma Bea’s savory brisket pie with mashed potato crust or Grandma Phyllis’ tomato pie. I literally grew up with the tomatoes she grew in Brooklyn. She had an amazing garden, from grapes vines, to tomatoes and zucchini, and for me, that’s what I want. I’m really going back to my roots. I want everyone to have that home-cooked, homemade food that we all want to make, but don’t have the time.”
Everything in Hometown Bake Shop is made completely from scratch, even down to their sauces, aioli and mayonnaise. Only the freshest, purest ingredients are used, and some items, like chicken, are organic. Several gluten-free products are also available, and most pies can be made gluten free.
“We also do a lot of breakfast,” says Abrams. “We make all our own breads and biscuits. We do an English muffin bread, a naan bread, focaccia and three different types of biscuits. Customers can order an egg sandwich or an egg in a cup for those who don’t want bread. For commuters, we do my version of eggs in a basket, which is basically a biscuit, and then on the inside is sausage, egg and cheese baked right into the biscuit so you can eat with one hand. You can grab that and a coffee and it’s easy to eat on the go.”
For brownie fans, you must try one of chef Abrams dark chocolate creations. It is so big and rich, it could literally feed three people. Pure decadence. Other treats include a variety of homemade cookies, lemon bars, red velvet cake, turtle cheesecake bars, blondies and a berry crumb. Each day there is a new special.
Hometown Bake Shop is open Monday – Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“On Sundays we close at four,” says Abrams. “That’s family day, when everyone goes home for a family meal. That’s really so important to all of us.”