Factory Tours

Grandaisy Bakery


Monica Von Thun Calderón is a true Renaissance woman. Prior to founding Grandaisy Bakery, she embarked on a path to become an anthropologist, fluent in four languages. After receiving her PhD in rural Bolivia, Monica spent time studying in Italy and learned firsthand the value of taking breaks and enjoying food as a ritual. She opened Sullivan Street Bakery in 1994 before establishing Grandaisy Bakery, named in honor of her grandmother, her childhood companion.

Monica cherishes the creation of a space where daily work is intertwined with memories of one’s grandmother. Grandaisy specializes in crafting Roman-style pizzas, pastries, breads, biscotti, and a variety of delightful dry goods right in their Tribeca location.

Monica takes pride in Grandaisy’s commitment to simplicity, emphasizing ingredients you can count on five fingers. “My goal is to make this a really positive experience,” says Monica. “All the products are really good because they’re made in this classic Italian tradition with very few ingredients put together well, and we can be super consistent.” The bakery supplies bread and buns to restaurants across New York City, Westchester, and New Jersey, while maintaining a welcoming Tribeca store for coffee, sandwiches, and pastries.

At the heart of Grandaisy is its dedicated team, notably a pair of brothers from Guatemala, Julio and Alonzo Guarchaj, overseeing production and training. The workforce mirrors the diversity of Central, North and South America, the west coast of Africa, and South Asia. Each individual’s cultural background has influenced Grandaisy’s unique journey, from the menu to back-of-house culture. They have a group of deaf employees who communicate using a unique blend of American Sign Language (ASL) and their own modified version. This inclusive approach reflects their commitment to making everyone feel welcome and valued, creating an environment where people of different linguistic backgrounds can thrive. “I’m an anthropologist, and one of the things that I love is being able to work with people of different backgrounds,” says Monica.

Monica envisions Grandaisy as a supportive work family, emphasizing a departure from the typical corporate approach. “That’s part of why I don’t want to leave New York City—I want people to be able to get to work easily,” Monica says. She’s committed to fostering a healthy work-life balance through manageable shifts and vacation time, aiming to make Grandaisy a place where people work to live, not live to work.

As Grandaisy Bakery commemorates 15 years in their Tribeca location, Monica reflects on their journey with a sense of accomplishment and commitment to the community. Despite the challenges faced during the pandemic, their unwavering dedication and the support of both their resilient team and COVID assistance programs allowed them to persevere. Monica acknowledges the ebb and flow of business, noting contrasting summers, where 2022’s success was met 2023’s challenges. “Summer 2022 was amazing,” says Monica. “Everybody came outside and you’re like, ‘This is great.’ And in 2023, it was harder, because we didn’t do as good as 2022.”

However, her optimism prevails as she envisions Grandaisy Bakery not merely as a business but as a community hub, a place where people can find comfort in the warmth of freshly baked goods and a welcoming atmosphere. “We’re trying to be a community bakery, a place that people can come to and feel like, ‘Oh, this is my local bakery,’” Monica says. “My goal was just to do this really well, not to become a chain of Grandaisies. That’s not my job. I want this experience to be good.”

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