Best East Village Ma-and-Pa-Owned Business (2008)

Ciao for Now

Ciao for Now, a neighborhood bakery, can only fit 15 or 20 (uncomfortably) into its tiny dining room, but this little sugar shack with the ginormous heart is beloved by hundreds nonetheless. They'd have a killer rep on the merits of their excellent organically inclined, locally grown baked goods alone—sumptuous muffins (blueberry streusel, corn, strawberry mango, bran, vegan), yummy cupcakes (large-and-in-charge, or minis for the kiddies and figure-watchin' mommies), deelish scones (apple oat, blueberry, raspberry), and gourmet-like spins on classic café victuals (quesadilla, grilled cheese, breakfast burrito, BLT, soups, and salads). But what clinches the prize is the staff's obvious care for the community: They're always cheery (like for real, no Starbucks McCorporate prompted geniality) and usually remember your name and order after just a few visits. This, of course, all originates with the husband-and-wife owners and their cherubic towhead kids. (Until recent city interference, there was also a pets-allowed policy.) The benches out front serve not only as an Alphabet City micro–town hall, but a doggie waiting station. Plus they sell and cater some of downtown's best cakes.


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