Holy Cannoli! Epic, Foot-Long Dessert Is Just One Holiday Highlight at Lyndhurst Pastry Shop

For many New Jerseyans, an Italian-American Christmas is unthinkable without a selection of handmade treats from the 75-year-old bakery.

The foot-long Christmas cannoli at Lyndhurst Pastry Shop

Lyndhurst Pastry Shop’s foot-long Christmas cannoli is stuffed with and surrounded by three dozen mini-cannoli. Photo: Courtesy of Lyndhurst Pastry Shop

If North Jersey’s Lanzerotti dynasty had a family crest, it would feature a cannoli.

The Lanzerottis—Italian-American dessert royalty—run Lyndhurst Pastry Shop, which celebrated its 75th anniversary this year. For generations, their welcoming, old-school bakery has supplied lovingly crafted cannoli, cookies, biscotti, cakes and holiday treats to loyal customers in Bergen County and far beyond.

For Lyndhurst Pastry Shop regulars, an Italian-American Christmas is unthinkable without a sampling of the Lanzerottis’ red- and green-sprinkled, chocolate-dipped cookies, cuccidati Sicilian fig twists, delectable pignoli cookies, or the signature foot-long Christmas cannoli.

Exterior of Lyndhurst Pastry Shop

Lyndhurst Pastry Shop is 75 years old. The Lanzerottis used to live upstairs. Photo: KT Harrison

Lyndhurst Pastry Shop’s sweet story begins with the 1915 Ellis Island arrival of Anthony Lanzerotti, toting his family recipes from Catania, Sicily. First, he worked in Italian bakeries in Brooklyn. “Then he started a family and bought DeFeo’s Pastry Shop in Jersey City,” says grandson Jerry Lanzerotti Jr. “The neighborhood loved what he did and so did his three sons, including my dad, Jerry Sr. The boys took over the business and in 1948 opened Lyndhurst Pastry Shop across the street from where we are now.”

Jerry Lanzerotti Jr. of Lyndhurst Pastry Shop

Jerry Lanzerotti Jr. says he’s at home in his family bakery. Photo: KT Harrison

When the bakery moved to its current and bigger location in 1957, “I hadn’t even been born yet,” Lanzerotti says. “When I was a little kid, my family moved into the big apartment upstairs. My mom, Vee, for Vincenza, was beloved for her ‘Sunday sauce’ weekly meal that brought the extended family together for many years.” As a teen, he says, “I got very involved in the business, along with my older brothers, Chuck and Anthony, called Butch. All three of us studied baking at Bergen Tech, now called Bergen Academy, in Hackensack.”

Chuck was the head baker for decades. “He retired in 2006 and passed the reins to his protégé, Celerino ‘Sal’ Espana,” Lanzerotti relates. “Sal’s from Mexico and bakes our family recipes perfectly and consistently, just like Chuck did.”

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Today, every member of the Lanzerotti family pitches in at the bakery. It’s owned by all three Lanzerotti brothers, but “our kids, grandkids and cousins are part of it, too. We’ve all grown up pitching in here and still do as much as we can when we can. We’re open 365 days a year and go into overdrive for the holidays. Whatever needs doing, a Lanzerotti will do.”

Cookie makers at Lyndhurst Pastry Shop

Everything’s handmade the old-fashioned way. Photo: KT Harrison

It’s hard to resist the lure of carrying on a proud family tradition—and a deeply rooted local enterprise at that. Lanzerotti’s daughter, Paulette, was a high-school math teacher for a dozen years. “Now I’m immersed in the family business,” she says. “I do marketing and community outreach, which pretty much means sharing the love.”

A smiling employee amid struffoli at Lyndhurst Pastry Shop

Expect smiles and struffoli. Photo: KT Harrison

Lanzerotti’s granddaughter, Hailey Mayewski, 22, who studied writing at Montclair State, serves customers. Chuck’s granddaughter, Michele, a bartender in Jersey City, hones her precision skills as a cake decorator. And Lanzerotti’s college-aged grandsons—Michael, Christian, Matthew and Justin—are in charge of the bakery’s Italian-ice offerings, featuring more than 40 flavors, every summer.

Though the family is now spread all over Bergen and Essex counties, Lyndhurst-residing Darlene—Lanzerotti’s daughter and Hailey’s mom—performs the essential nightly ritual of closing down the shop.

“Right here is where we want to be, where we feel at our most connected with life,” says Lanzerotti. “During the holidays, the bakery feels like a family reunion. And not just for us Lanzerottis, but for our customers too. After all, for 75 years, we’ve been baking for them. Through our generations, for theirs.”

Lyndhurst Pastry Shop, 256 Ridge Road, Lyndhurst; 201-939-3951  @lyndhurstpastryshop

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