Master Baker Don DePetrillo had his start in 1967 owning his first small bakery on the corner of Veazie Street and Branch Avenue in Providence. Not many people know, however, that Don has a degree in Aeronautic Engineering from Wentworth Institute. Don found that hard work and the creativity of baking were more suited to him than sitting behind a desk. He was determined to learn everything he could about breads, pizzas and other types of Italian baking.
Many of the family recipes were scaled up to provide the public with a taste of authentic Italian cooking. The breads have only a few ingredients, but oh, the flavor! The Pizzas are also based on recipes and textures that were found only in the family kitchen. As the business grew, Don started to experiment with new formulas and products. He slowly changed the basic bread formula to one that he uses today. The bread can be frozen for weeks, defrosted and still taste as fresh as the first day it was baked. To say it travels well is an understatement. People from as far away as Florida buy his bread,calzones and pizza chips and ship them home.
Over the next few years, the business expanded and the bakery was straining to keep up with demand. Eventually Don, working with a small business loan, expanded into a new, much larger building which featured a deli counter as well as the bakery business. In the mid 70’s, a crisis hit the food industry. The cost of flour and other basic ingredients was skyrocketing and Don was forced to move into smaller quarters to keep the business going.
Between the late 70’s and mid 80’s, DePetrillo’s Pizza and Bakery gradually expanded from one store on Douglas Avenue to nine stores scattered around the state. All this time the attention to detail producing a superior product was always his passion. He personally oversaw the main bakery and was always near the ovens to insure that his products were being baked to his satisfaction.
In the mid 90’s, Don moved to Florida and joined Lucarelli’s Bakery as head baker. There he began to tinker with some new ideas he had in baking. By the time he returned to Rhode Island, he had formulated a recipe for Focaccia dough that could be produced in batches. He opened Focaccia King in Johnston to try out his ideas and it was an immediate success. He expanded this to two stores before selling them.
In 2007, Don partnered with Alicia McArthur and, pooling both of their talents, started The Original Italian Bakery in Johnston, bringing all his recipes with him; recipes based on fresh ingredients and attention to quality. He also added to the normal line of fresh baked breads, pizzas, calzones and pastries such new recipes as Multigrain breads and his wildly popular “Pizza Chips”. Always inventive, we can’t wait to see what he’s got “cooking” in new products in the future.
915 Atwood Ave
Johnston, RI 02919