Oteri’s Italian Bakery’s rich history begins in Sicily, Italy, birthplace of Gaetano Oteri, great-grandfather of Lisa, Oteri’s current proprietor. Educated in the culinary arts, Gaetano hones his craft and passes his knowledge to his children, including Anthony, Lisa’s grandfather, who also trained at the Italian Culinary Institute. Anthony’s diploma from his graduation from the Culinary Institute still graces the wall of Lisa’s office today.
In 1904, Gaetano and his wife, Sarah, and their children immigrate to the United States and establish their first restaurant/bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey. After being in business for a number of years, the Oteri’s relocate to South Philadelphia in the early decades of the 20th Century, where Oteri’s Italian Pastries is established and operated in two locations over the years. The Oteri children, including son Anthony, work as bakers, learning on the job and occasionally returning to Italy for continued schooling in the Italian tradition of culinary and baking arts. Upon his death, Gaetano hands Oteri’s down to Anthony.
In the late 1960s, Anthony opens a store on Torresdale Avenue in Northeast Philadelphia, running both the Northeast and the South Philly stores for a time. Anthony’s son, Thomas, Lisa’s father, works with Anthony, and as Anthony did, apprentices and learns the arts and traditions of the business on the job from his father and grandfather. Eventually, Anthony passes the South Philly store to Thomas, while continuing to run the Torresdale store himself. When Anthony retires, the Torresdale Avenue store closes, leaving only the South Philly storefront, run by Thomas.
In 1968, Thomas opens Oteri’s current location on 5th Street in Logan. South Philly remains open but limited to Italian pastries, wedding cakes, cookies and canolis. All other operations are centered at 5th Street. In the early 1970s, Thomas undertakes an ambitious project, beginning construction on a production facility at 5th Street that will add 8,100 square feet of production space to the existing 5th Street location. By 2012, Oteri’s will have multiplied by another 7,000 square feet, for a state of the art facility totaling 14,000 square feet! The 5th Street production facility opens in 1974, South Philly is shuttered and all business is consolidated at one location.
Realizing Oteri’s was synonymous with so much more than just pastries, in 1977; the name is changed to “Oteri’s Italian Bakery” from “Oteri’s Italian Pastries.”This rebranding reflects the stores incredible growth into a broad, comprehensive baking emporium, turning out every imaginable type of baked goods. No longer is the product line limited to pastries; Oteri’s is the place to go for anything made from dough or batter! It is truly a widely renowned, full scale baking operation.
During this period of growth, Oteri’s expands to open additional storefronts, serving various neighborhoods in Philadelphia: From 1976 to 1992, Juniata; from 1977 to 1987, 12th & Sansom Streets in Center City; and since 2007 Oteri’s has been open for business on Woodland Avenue in Southwest Philly and again in Northeast Philly since 2010. In 2011, a deli was added to 5th Street, creating a full service one-stop shopping experience for Oteri’s bakery customers. Now, in addition to their baked goods, customers can order deli trays, sandwiches and the like, all in one convenient location.
Today, Oteri’s tradition of fine quality, old world style baking is continued in state of the art facilities by Lisa Oteri, a fourth generation member of the Oteri family who took the reins upon the passing of her father, Thomas, in 2006. Lisa and the rest of the Oteri’s Italian Bakery family proudly offer products of the highest quality, produced in the best traditions and values embodied by the methods handed down for over 100 years by the Oteri family.
Oteri’s Italian Bakery…from our family to your family with love!