When Giorgio Castiello bought the business at 1112 Washington Street in 1974, it was a failed bakery, an uptown location for Schoening’s Bakery that never made it like the downtown original. But Castiello, who was born in Italy, had been working in a bakery since he was a boy, and he decided to come the United States to make a go of it. He had worked for several years on cruise ships before making the leap, and he found his experience of working with Spanish speakers on ships helped him with his new Hoboken customers, since so many spoke Spanish. In 1970, Puerto Ricans, who had been migrating to the city since the 1940s, made up about 22 percent of Hoboken’s population.
He changed what he offered from day to day, and introduced Hobokenites of all backgrounds to the traditional pastries of his homeland—the Napolitano zeppole, wheat pie, a sweet casatiello pastry with colored eggs for Easter, mustache-shaped mostaccioli pastries and sosamelli for Christmas. In her teenage years, one of his daughters, Mary Grace, began learning about pastry-making from her father. After he died, in 2019, she continued on for two years at the bakery, until closing its doors in 2021.