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Meet Anthony Rubino of Sicilian Bakery in Northwest Side

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anthony Rubino.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My story starts from when I was a child. For as long as I can remember there was nothing else I wanted to do but be at the family bakery, getting my hands dirty and working alongside my dad, Phil, to learn as much as I can. After graduating high school, I decided to pursue my dream of being a baker and taking over the family business. I enrolled at Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago (Le Cordon Bleu) to soak up even more knowledge and earn a degree in what I always loved to do. After graduating in 2008, I became a full time employee at the bakery and started following my dad’s footsteps. As the years went on, little by little, I began to take on more responsibility from doing inventory and placing orders to going out and selling our products to promoting the bakery and managing our storefront. With countless hours and hard work, I worked my way up and now run the day to day operations with my dad.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I can’t say that it has always been a piece of cake. This business takes a lot of sacrifices. It involves really early mornings and extremely long days, sometimes working well into the night. I have given up weekends and late nights out with friends and holidays with the family.

I’d say in this day and age, keeping up with trends is one of the most difficult things. People always want to see new products and want the next coolest thing. What a lot of people don’t know is that these extravagant bakery items they are seeing have actually been around for decades and are staples in the Italian/Sicilian community. It just takes a little creativity to change it up and make it trendy.

Trying to teach a new generation to support your small local businesses is also another challenge we face. We have generations of families that come into the bakery because it’s something they have known and love. We value those customers more than they know.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Sicilian Bakery is all about family and keeping things traditional. We strive to use the best quality products we can find. We are your local neighborhood old school bakery. We make fresh breads daily along with focaccia and our famous arancini (Sicilian Rice Balls stuffed with meat and cheese). You can get sub sandwiches on any of our bread or focaccia for lunch and then have a little treat for dessert! We make a wide variety of Italian cookies & pastries, coffee cakes and Danishes. We also do birthday and special occasion cakes as well as sweet tables.

We are best known for a few things; our Cannoli, Fried Cartocci (an Italian doughnut filled with cannoli filling), Arancini, fresh bread, Our Cannoli cakes are probably our biggest hit. People often tell us it is the best cake they ever had. We have had customers come from all over the city and even surrounding states to pick one up for their occasion.

What I’m most proud of as a company is how we have stood the stand of time for 3 generations. To see our returning customers with a smile on their face telling me how we’ve been a part of their family traditions for years is something that I cherish every day.

What sets us apart is our attention to detail and keeping with tradition. Everything is homemade using old family recipes and quality ingredients. We still make everything by hand.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up I was just your normal boy, playing with cars and riding bikes with the neighborhood kids. But I always wanted to be in the kitchen whether it was at home with mom or visiting my nonna. I enjoyed helping her prepare Sunday dinner. I was always pretending I was chef and making a mess.

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Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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