From their childhood in the Calabria province of southern Italy, Sal Alvaro and his wife Lina developed a passion for the food of their home country and a love for the recipes preserved by their families for generations.
After immigrating to America in their youth, the Alvaros stayed close to their roots, returning to Italy every year. Though Sal's business in Harrisburg was tiling and construction, he maintained a keen interest in baking and took every opportunity to learn more about it during these trips. Eventually he gained employment with a local bakery near his birthplace, soaking up the knowledge and baking techniques of the masters over a few months. Though the end of each trip to Italy meant a return to the construction business, Sal and Lina held on to their lifelong dream of opening their own authentic Italian bakery in their new hometown, Harrisburg.
Finally, their opportunity came. When the old building on the corner of Green and Peffer became available, the Alvaros immediately saw the potential. 236 Peffer Street was originally built as a general store in the 1900's and converted into a Laundromat years later. As time passed it fell into disrepair and eventually abandonment. Undaunted, and with over 20 years of experience rehabilitating buildings in the city, Sal and his family purchased the building set to work.
The transformation over the next six months was incredible. The Alvaros had turned a once-condemned building into a solid, clean shop with new tiled floors, exposed brick walls and the cozy character that a family-run Italian bakery and cafe should have. The project drew the attention of the Historic Harrisburg Association, who honored the Alvaros with an Excellence in Historic Preservation Award in 2005.
Today the little bakery bustles with activity in the heart of a neighborhood now poised for its own Renaissance. Fresh bread, pasta and cookies are made from scratch every day as the Alvaro family continues exercising their belief that hard work becomes the most delicious food.
Come enjoy the rich flavors of Italy at Alvaro Bread and Pastry Shoppe — and bring some home!