Utica Bakery Draws Devotees from Near and Far

It’s 8:45 a.m. on a rainy Friday, and New York native Amanda Lampuri has arrived at Utica Bakery in Apex, a fixed-location food truck that’s open just three days a week. Lampuri is picking up an order of Belgian chocolate eclairs and other delectable pastries for her uncle’s 75th birthday celebration.

“My family is first-generation Italian, and we love this place,” Lampuri said with a smile as she huddled underneath the bakery’s awning to avoid getting drenched. “It’s a hidden gem.”

Phil DeSimone, of Utica Bakery in Apex, walks Amanda Lampuri back to her car, holding an umbrella so she and her pastries stay dry.

On any given Friday, Saturday and Sunday, loyal enthusiasts like Lampuri queue up to get their fill of European-style sweet and savory items. Based on the steady flow of customers – some of whom drive from as far away as South Carolina and Virginia – and the rave reviews on social media, it’s safe to say Utica has developed a cult-like following.

“It’s so humbling because we are totally a word-of-mouth mom-and-pop business,” said co-founder Phil DeSimone, who started the bakery along with his wife, Renee DeSimone, and son, Vincent “Vinny” DeSimone. “We bake staples of Utica (New York), where we came from, and these are our family recipes. There’s a lot of labor involved in making the products, but it’s a labor of love.”

Utica Bakery is located in a a fixed-location food truck in Apex. The small, family-run business is open three days a week.

The DeSimones started the family-owned bakery shortly after Vinny, a graduate of Wake Technical Community College’s culinary arts program, began experiencing epileptic seizures.

“Vinny desperately wanted to maintain his independence by implementing his craft,” Renee DeSimone said. “Epilepsy created many obstacles, and safety was a huge issue. Since we bake in a separate building located next to our home, we can monitor him. Our initial plan was to get the bakery up and running and then let Vinny take over, but we soon learned it would take a village.”

During the week, the proprietors spend their days preparing enough baked goods for the weekend. The result is an extensive selection of otherworldly goodness that’s worth standing in line for.

Among the pastries include colossal eclairs, cannolis, cream puffs and lobster tails – all filled with the buyer’s choice of cream filling – plus pasticiotti, rum baba and more.

“Rum baba is a brioche soaked in a sweet rum syrup with an apricot glaze,” Phil DeSimone said.

Assorted cookies range from Italian wedding and almond paste to orange drop and chocolate meatball.

Want something savory? Consider any of four available stuffed breads, tomato pie or a loaf of Italian bread.

“On Savory Sundays, we also offer quiches and flatbreads,” said Vinny DeSimone.

While walkup orders are welcome, preorders can be made by Facebook Messenger or by emailing uticabakery@gmail.com.

Utica is open Friday-Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Arrive early for the best selection.

Utica Bakery
430 Upchurch St., Apex
(919) 267-5716

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