Sullivan Street Bakery won’t be baking bread anytime soon

The acclaimed Sullivan Street Bakery in Manhattan has suspended baking operations after a water main rupture flooded the main production facility in Hell’s Kitchen with eight feet of water last week. Owner Jim Lahey has been keeping fans updated on Instagram.

Since then, fellow Balthazar bakers, Bread Alone, Granddaisy and Il Forno, many of whom he has worked with at one point or another, have kept their businesses stocked with bread products in this run-up to the busiest time of year. . for a bakery.

“In my 28 years, I have never had a working oven,” Lahey told Eater. “We are stuck.” Sullivan Street Bakery first opened in 1994.

While Lahey runs several New York bakery locations, including one in Soho, and Sullivan Street Bakery and Pizza in Chelsea, the flooding ruined, among other things, a gas line booster in Hell’s Kitchen that is needed for volume of its production.

Lahey says he has “no idea” when it will be back up and running. The flooding also delayed a new pizzeria that was on track to open over the holidays.

In the week since the flood, the bakery has gotten a new water pipe, power restored and a new sidewalk, but remains closed; and says that the entire valve system on the gas line needs to be rebuilt.

Lahey lives above the flooded bakery with his family; They currently don’t have gas in her house either.

“I’ve had a lot of emotional moments,” he says. The effect that the flood has had on his business is greater than the hit of the pandemic; it affects the livelihood of around 90 people who work in the bakery. He says that he has more employees now than before Covid.

A bakery flooded with standing water.

Sullivan Street Bakery’s Hell’s Kitchen production bakery after a burst water main flooded the basement.
Jim Lahey/Sullivan Street Bakery

Until Sullivan Street is at full capacity, he points out that he’s becoming a temporary distributor rather than an artisan baker who spends more than $10,000 a day buying bread but still needs to pay his employees — his payroll is more than $ 65,000 a week, he says, and he intends to pay employees even though the bakery is closed. He doesn’t know when the insurance will kick in to offset the costs of the rebuild and the weekly payroll.

Of the bakers who have helped him, he is “in awe” of Paula Oland of Balthazar Bakery (based in Englewood, NJ). And he notes that Union Square Greenmarket favorite Bread Alone, which recently opened a carbon-neutral bakery upstate, has stepped in to help supply bread to NYC Sweetgreens, which accounts for 30 percent of the Sullivan Street business. , He says.

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