While Nuccio’s may be a hole-in-the-wall of an Italian bakery in Gravesend, the name packs a lot of punch in southern Brooklyn, where loyal locals appreciate the time and love that goes into the wide variety of gorgeous and delicious pastries.
“Our cookies bring joy to people,” Pietro Stemma, who’s father bought Nuccio’s from its former owner 27 years ago (keeping the old name due its established reputation in the neighborhood), said of the reasons he loves working there. “We put cookies on so many people’s tables through our wholesale to Stop & Shop,” he added.
At Nuccio’s, cannoli are filled to order with cream made fresh everyday. “My father used to do everything,” Pietro noted of the family run business, “now we have enough employees that he doesn’t have to.”
Despite not all workers being related to the Stemma, nor all being Sicilian, the family energy hangs as rich as their cannoli cream in the air of the quaint Avenue U storefront.
On our first visit to Nuccio’s, we came late, and the baker had already left for the day, meaning we couldn’t have any cannoli filled. Instead, we got ourselves a St. Joseph, strawberry shortcake, a baguette and a box of pine nut and rainbow cookies.
Despite its decadence, the St. Joseph wasn’t overly sweet. Topped with a thick, candied orange peel, the filling featured chocolate chips, and the cream managed to be both crusty and thick — incredible.
The shortcake had real strawberry glaze, and a real, shockingly fresh, strawberry on top. Also incredible.
The baguette had a perfectly crispy exterior and had maintained its freshness, despite being purchased late in the day.
The pine nut cookies were baked to perfection. The rainbow cookies were above-standard.
The next day we went back and got a cannoli which, unsurprisingly, was just as honest and unpainted as the other pastries: all its color tasted good as well.
With sprinkles on one end and a maraschino cherry on the other, the cream had a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg, and managed to be just sweet enough that the sugar didn’t overpower the experience, and other flavors could be tasted as well.
So, while Nuccio’s might not have quite the reputation of places like Villabate Alba, they sure do know how to bake and, according to readers who participated in our best cannoli poll, their cannoli ranks in the top four in all of southern Brooklyn.
Go treat yourself to some pastries at Nuccio’s. You won’t regret it.
Where: 261 Avenue U
Hours: 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Open from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Sundays
Phone: (718) 449-3035
All photos by author