Pittsburgh restaurants and bars

Thousands will crowd the new Oakmont Bakery today because Elvis cupcakes and paczki

It’s three times as big, meaning more sweets and more tables. But there’s still probably not enough parking.

A display case at the new Oakmont Bakery location at Third Street and Hulton Road in Oakmont Borough is pictured. The larger location, part of an expansion, officially opened Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019.

A display case at the new Oakmont Bakery location at Third Street and Hulton Road in Oakmont Borough is pictured. The larger location, part of an expansion, officially opened Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019.

COLIN DEPPEN / THE INCLINE
colin-square-crop

Living near the Oakmont Bakery comes with certain responsibilities.

Most of the time it requires you remain something of a courier, ready and willing to ferry the signature pastries from this suburban Pittsburgh institution to friends, family and acquaintances far and wide.

“A friend of mine who used to live here and who moved to Florida wants me to take her the sugar cookies every time I go,” Sophia Facaros of Oakmont said matter of factly.

Sometimes it’s a form of currency.

“When I called up to Monterey Bay Fish Grotto [the restaurant in Mount Washington], the guy said, ‘Yeah, I’ll give you a table if you bring me an Elvis Presley cupcake,” Facaros added. The cupcake, a mix of banana mousse, peanut-butter frosting and white chocolate ganache, is a nod to the King’s favorite fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. (Elvis mysteriously suffered a fatal heart attack in 1977.)

But as of this morning, Facaros and everyone else in the area will have more elbow room to procure these tokens of affection and forms of payola.

The new Oakmont Bakery location at Third Street and Hulton Road officially opened Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019.

The new Oakmont Bakery location at Third Street and Hulton Road officially opened Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019.

COLIN DEPPEN / THE INCLINE

In a ribbon cutting ceremony at 8 a.m., Oakmont Bakery’s new location at Third Street and Hulton Road — One Sweet Way — officially opened. It is sprawling and modern. It bustles like a train station. Store manager Billy Oblock expected several thousand customers before the end of the day.

“We watched it grow over the years, not realizing what it became, I guess,” said Facaros, who was among the first customers in line.

She stood in a light rain with Marilyn Steving of Plum who said she asked her grandson to delay scheduling his wedding until she was sure she’d be home for today’s grand opening, which was originally eyed for November of last year before being delayed. Steving didn’t seem to mind.

They were surrounded by a crowd of press and media that rivaled those seen on presidential campaign trails.

When I asked Facaros and Steving and others waiting outside what was good here, every one of them laughed in my face.

“You kidding? I’d eat anything from in there,” Steving said.

Marilyn Steving of Plum shows off her paczki shopping list before the opening of the new Oakmont Bakery location on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019.

Marilyn Steving of Plum shows off her paczkis shopping list before the opening of the new Oakmont Bakery location on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019.

COLIN DEPPEN / THE INCLINE

Pressed for recommendations, Martin Colamarino of Plum Borough acted as though I’d asked him to pick a favorite child.

“Oh …. Gosh … Their paczkis [pronounced punch-key] are good, the bagels, everything — you can’t go wrong.”

Minutes later, the owners, Marc Serrao and family, said a few words. They thanked everyone for coming, closed with a prayer, cut the ribbon and threw open the doors.

What looks from the outside like a Whole Foods also looks that way from the inside, except all the produce and asparagus water has been replaced by confections and carbohydrates. The display cases gleamed and brimmed with breads and cakes and cookies.

The place is massive at three times the size of the old location. It will be open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Steving, Colamarino and Facaros relished the added room and the diminished need for sharper elbows. They said the parking lot was also larger, though it was already overflowing by 10 a.m.

Inside, I paced the long concourse and made my selections with the help of an agreeable and exceedingly patient staffer. I ordered the Pittsburgh creme paczki — imagine a denser and more mildly sweetened version of a donut with an incredibly sweet and weightless, almost gravity-defying vanilla creme inside. I had a pepperoni roll and immediately wanted another.

I tried the *really extra* mini-Oakmonter, the bakery’s signature mashup of New York style cheesecake, dark chocolate cake, fudge icing and on and on. Then I tried an espresso macaron that tasted like concentrated and dehydrated tiramisu, in a not-at-all unpleasant way, and which floated on my tongue and momentarily gave me the ability to speak Italian. “Sono pieno come un uovo.”

Finally, I tried the guava and cream cheese pastelito, a flaky Cuban pastry that evoked the cream cheese and jelly sandwiches of my youth, if that youth had taken place on a tropical archipelago.

I spread all of the items out before me on a table — the bakery’s new location also has more of these — and got a few looks. “Gluttons gonna glut.”

And then I spilled the leftovers into a bag, waved goodbye to Facaros a few tables away and went back out into the world smelling a little sweeter and better prepared to perform favors here for my loved ones for many years to come.

Want some more? Explore other Pittsburgh restaurants and bars stories.

We love you, Pittsburgh.

Looks like you’re the type of person who reads to the end of articles.

Because you love learning about Pittsburgh, you need our free morning newsletter, full of useful news, can’t-miss events, and everything else you need to know about our city.

There's no journalism without u.

Reporting and writing stories like this require time — and money. When readers like you become members, it ensures that we’ll be able to keep bringing you the news. Will you join us today?

It feels like we know each other.

It’s nice seeing you here, because we can’t do this without you.

Make our relevant, original, and actionable journalism possible by contributing now.

Let’s make it official.

Your support allows us to do great work like the article you just read, and we can’t do it without you.

Will you become a member today to help us for the long haul?

You’re the best.

Members often ask us how they can go the extra mile to help us. Your financial support makes this possible. Bringing your friends makes it fun.

Get your loved ones to sign up for our daily newsletter today.