What smells better than fresh bakery? Not much, really, and it does bring to mind when bakeries were thriving businesses in almost all communities, until the time when they gave way to “store bought” baked goods. Grocery stores filled their shelves with items from large companies brought in on big trucks.

Riverside was one of those towns which had a bakery, but it closed several years ago.  But now there is a resurgence, and the village will soon be home to two stores devoted to baked goods.  

Of course, there is Flur, the gluten-free bakery, which is located in the Arcade Building on the corner of East Quincy Street and Riverside Road. The store is known for its French macarons, but it also has a full supply of gluten-free products, including muffins and biscotti.  

Soon to open is the much anticipated Fiore Gourmet Bakery on Forest Avenue. Not much is known as to what will be available, since the windows are still covered. I am thinking there may be a selection of Italian goodies, judging by the name.  

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t include the bakery at Riverside Foods. Very cleverly, the bakery department is in the front of the store. You can’t miss it — it looks good and smells good.

However, one cannot talk about today’s Riverside bakeries without mentioning the original bakery, Neilsen’s, on East Burlington Street, where The Chew Chew is now located.  

Going by the store in the early hours, you could see the light in the back of the store, and you knew the baker was working hard to get ready for the early morning crowd.  

When the doors opened, people were ready to get boxes to take to work or a bag for themselves to eat while on the train. Children on the way to school stopped to get something to tide them over as they prepared for a long day of learning.  

As students at St. Mary’s, we would go to First Friday Mass and for those of us who had to fast until after communion, we would have fresh bakery from Neilsen’s with milk or hot chocolate. What a warm memory.

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