For nearly 60 years it was breads, cakes and pastries, up before dawn for the Perrone family in Armenia Garden Estates.
For a minute it looked like Tampa’s Housewife Bake Shop was going to close, but third-generation owner Tena Perrone said on Wednesday that their plans had changed. They didn’t share any further details about the future of the bakery.
Anthony and Dana were the second of three generations involved in operations at the bakery on the corner of Sligh and Armenia avenues. Related to the founders of Tampa’s famous Alessi Bakery, the Perrones are among the few and the proud to run a small, independent, mom-and-pop bakery in these parts. They made their name on eclairs and Italian cookies, but most of all it was on the strength of their scachatta, that not-quite-a-pizza-bread that is a must-have for any respectable Noche Buena celebration.
In April, Housewife Bake Shop decided to close — the younger generation of the family busy with their own careers and Anthony and Dana nearing retirement.
Let’s for a moment step back: Anthony’s father, Louis Perrone, returned from World War II and married Frances Alessi, daughter of Nicola and Rosalia Alessi, who founded Tampa’s Alessi Bakery in 1912. In the mid 1950s, Louis opened his own bake shops at the fancy new complexes at Britton Plaza and Northgate Shopping Center, later selling them but holding onto what had been a former grocery at 6821 N Armenia Ave., Housewife Bake Shop which he had opened in 1959. Many of the recipes arrived in this country in 1960 in the notebook in the back pocket of Mario Sciortino. Anthony and Dana Perrone took over the bakery in 1976.
Over the years it has added a deli line that includes Cuban pork roast, Italian sausage with peppers and onions, chicken and yellow rice — things that have become staples at Tampa gatherings and office parties.