Presti's Bakery resides in a tiny enclave of east Cleveland known as Little Italy. The approximately six-block neighborhood boasts brick streets, a dwindling but fiercely loyal contingent of Italian-Americans, and food that reflects the hertiage: You can't cross the street without hitting an Italian restaurant.
A dozen ethnic kitchens populate two main cross streets, Mayfield and Murray Hill, anchored by two bakeries. Both have been around for generations and offer traditional Italian treats, but Presti’s gets the edge. Located in Little Italy for more than 100 years, it still fills its shelves with original family recipes from matriarch Rose Presti. Beyond cookies and cakes, there are also breads, donuts, and specials like custard puffs and chocolate mousse.
The space is an added attraction. The bakery moved two doors down from its original location in 1999, and the owners gutted and renovated the space before reopening. The resulting cafe is simultaneously modern, with light wood paneling and track lighting, and historic with antique tin ceilings and old-fashioned display cases. Local groups meet here in the evenings, Italian-American gentlemen linger over coffee throughout the afternoon, and young college students pop in during the lunch rush. In addition to the bakery offerings, the cafe offers homemade flatbread pizza by the slice and a cooler full of quick lunch fare along the lines of pasta, deli salads and stromboli.