For nearly 70 years, Edgewood Bakery was a staple of the historic Murray Hill neighborhood – until a business deal gone wrong brought it all to an end.
The bakery opened in 1947 at the corner of Edgewood Avenue and Post Street and quickly established itself as a local favorite thanks to its extensive offerings of delicious pastries, breads, and desserts. It was a product of an era before big-box grocery stores when just about every neighborhood had its own bakery. Unlike the overwhelming majority of the other local bakeries, though, Edgewood Bakery survived far into the supermarket era.
The bakery was operated for many years by the husband-and-wife team of Doris and Karl Poppinga. In 1991, the Poppingas opted to retire, and the bakery was acquired by Gary and Sandy Polletta.
Under the Pollettas’ direction, the bakery expanded both in size and profile, adding extra event space and receiving several awards from the Southeast Retail Bakers Association. The bakery was also featured multiple times on the ‘90s-era HGTV show “All in Good Taste,” and Sandy even published a cookbook, Memory Lane Baking.
Unfortunately, it all came crashing down when the Pollettas decided to step away from the bakery.
The Pollettas sold the business in 2014 to Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s Stache Investments, who wanted to partner with OneSpark contestants Tom and Carole Rykalsky to run the bakery. But that partnership frayed almost immediately, with Khan filing a lawsuit against the couple to take full control of the business. Two main points of issue within the lawsuit were the Rykalskys not paying vendors in full, as well as their firing of Gary Polletta, Jr., the Pollettas’ son, who was supposed to remain on staff for continuity purposes as part of the agreement.
The courts agreed with Khan, granting him full ownership of Edgewood Bakery. After a brief closure, the bakery reopened in 2015 with Polletta, Jr., reinstated. But due to a decline in business – and perhaps lingering frustration over a failed business deal – Khan opted to close the bakery in March 2016.
The bakery’s building was sold to local restaurateur John Valentino, who planned to convert it into a second location for The French Pantry. That was five years ago; the building has sat dormant since then, and Valentino’s plans have seemingly been abandoned.
For now, the Edgewood Bakery building continues to sit, unoccupied and loosely maintained, as a solemn reminder of a treasured Murray Hill institution.