Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Passing of the Baker's Apron

By Lara Bricker
EXETER__After 15 years of rising before dawn to begin baking bread, muffins and other pastries in the kitchen of the Baker’s Peel, Judson Lovering is hanging up his apron.
Lovering a well-known downtown personality along with his wife Susanne has finalized the sale of the business to his longtime employee Anthony Antosiewicz. Antosiewicz, 31, plans to open St. Anthony’s Bakery in the space early next week.
Lovering, 50, said he always looked forward to going to work, where he typically arrived at 4:30 a.m., to bake and greet his regular customers. But the passion and energy he had for the business when he started 15 years ago was starting to wane. About a year ago, he decided to put the business up for sale.
Antosiewicz, who worked for Lovering for 10 years before taking another job five years ago, thought his longtime boss was kidding when he suggested that Antosiewicz should buy the bakery. When he realized that Lovering was serious, he started to think about the proposition.
“It was something I always wanted to do in the back of my mind,” Antosiewicz said. “But I never thought the opportunity would come up. I knew a lot of the clientele here already, so I thought ‘Well, this would probably be a good place to start.”’
During their time owning the bakery, the Loverings were known for hiring local high school students to work in the shop. Antosiewicz was one of those high school students, who started as a dishwasher, after he moved to Exeter from Brooklyn, New York. After he had been with the bakery for a little while, Jud began teaching him how to bake. He started with the breads, then moved onto rolls and then onto pastries.
“Anthony was a very good mixer,” Lovering said, adding that the mixer is responsible for making sure the exact proportions of ingredients necessary for good baking were ready. “That’s the most important job.”
Antosiewicz stayed at the bakery for 10 years, during which he eventually took over the shop with the Loverings were away on vacation. “He knows the ins and outs of the bakery trade,” Lovering said.
The two men worked many long 12 to 14 hour days baking together over the years during times like holidays. Antosiewicz recalled one very busy year when Lovering seemed to stay at the bakery for days without going home.
Five years ago, Antosiewicz took a new job working in the boiler plant at Phillips Exeter Academy. He jokes that he was hired “because I was small enough to get inside the boilers to clean them.”
He put in his last day at PEA last week and has been busy renovating the inside of the bakery space with the help of his father, also named Anthony, a retired police officer from Brooklyn, New York.
Longtime customers of the bakery can take comfort in knowing that all of the specialty pastries and muffins including the trademark cinnamon buns with orange cream cheese icing will remain.
Antosiewicz is bringing the bakery back to its roots in that he will offer the baked goods and bread, coffee and specialty cakes. He is not offering full breakfast as the bakery has done in recent times. He also plans to offer sandwiches for lunch and is installing a free wireless access point for people who would like to use their laptops at the bakery.
Barber Jim Ryan, who has been a neighbor to the bakery space since 1964, said this is the fourth business he has seen open up in the space, which was previously Ceceila’s European Bread and Bakery before it became the Baker’s Peel. Ryan said he will miss Lovering’s frequent trips to the shop where he always livened up the conversation among patrons with his political views.
“He’s been a great neighbor,” Ryan said. “I am going to miss them all, the two kids, Susanne and him.”
St. Anthony’s Bakery is scheduled to open early next week and will be open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m.
“I’m just looking forward to opening the doors up and having the customers come in,” Antociewicz said. “I’m not looking forward to making a lot of money; I’m really looking forward to serving the community.”

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