Zaro’s Bakery in Parkchester—Iconic Bronx Store—To Close Its Doors

Back in August we took this picture for an article on Parkchester and we wrote, "Zaro's is still there after all these years!" Now, the store will be gone in just 6 days after 56 years.
Back in August we took this picture for an article on Parkchester and we wrote, “Zaro’s is still there after all these years!” Now, the store will be gone in just 6 days after 56 years.

A trip to Parkchester usually meant a stop over at Zaro’s Bakery.

Zaro’s Bakery was founded in The Bronx back in 1927 by Polish immigrant Joseph Zaro and in 1959, the iconic location at Parkchester was opened. For 56 years the store has been a favorite for generations of Bronxites and now the store is closing its doors for good.

According to a tip by Bronx resident and actor Dominic Colon who posted images of a sign on Zaro’s doors, the landlord is refusing to renew their lease which expires on December 31st, just over a week away.

“It is with a heavy heart that the Zaro Family regrets to inform you that we will be closing our store for good on December 28th. The Parkchester community has supported us at this location since 1959, over 55 years and 3 generations of Zaros. The landlord informed us 4 weeks ago that our lease, which expires on December 31st, would not be renewed. In all likelihood we will be replaced by another big national food chain.” the note read.

Note taped to the inside of Zaro's as shared by actor and Bronx resident Dominic Colon.
Note taped to the inside of Zaro’s as shared by actor and Bronx resident Dominic Colon.

However, according to a representative at Olsham Properties who wished to remain anonymous, “That is simply not true, they did not lose their lease.”

When we spoke to the folks at Zaro’s headquarters they claimed that they were just given 4 weeks notice that their lease would not be renewed.

Rumors have it that a Boston Market will take over the space although the landlord would not confirm that.

Meanwhile over at Boston Market headquarters, they were unable to verify that that was the case but did verify that The Bronx will be getting 3 new Boston Market locations. One of those locations is most likely the soon to open spot in Melrose at Triangle Plaza on 149th Street so the verdict’s still out on what is coming.

Once the news broke out on Facebook, residents immediately began expressing their dismay at the loss of the store. Carol wrote, “So many good memories of that place…sad.”

I remember as a child, my parents would drive to Parkchester so mom could pick up a cake from Zaro’s — especially the carrot cake which was (and is still) one of our favorites — for special family occasions and gatherings.

A trip to Parkchester for me was always magical because it meant I got to see the beautiful buildings and architecture of this city within a city within a city.

Zaro’s Port Morris bakery and other locations will remain open, however, now you have to travel to Manhattan to get one of their classic items. Several of their locations in Manhattan have closed in recent years but their Grand Central Station location and others in midtown are still open.

Whatever the circumstances behind the closing of the store, it seems to be between Zaro’s and the landord.

It’s pretty safe to assume that the rent went up and perhaps considerably as typical retail and commercial leases are between 5 or 10 years. With the increased attention by developers in The Bronx and not to mention the closing of over 20 stores that will be bulldozed for a new retail/commercial building closing dozens of long time small businesses, retail rents are sure to only escalate.

National chains have the capital to readily pay these rents as evidenced by the recent opening of a Starbucks in Melrose on 161st Street and a soon to come Chipotle right next door.

It was a good 56 years of a mom and pop business right here in our borough and we’re sad to see them go. Maybe they’ll open up another Bronx location? After all, the rents are definitely cheaper than any of their multiple Manhattan locations.

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Ed García Conde

Ed García Conde is a life-long Bronxite who spends his time documenting the people, places, and things that make the borough a special place in the hopes of dispelling the negative stereotypes associated with The Bronx. His writings are often cited by mainstream media and is often consulted for his expertise on the borough's rich history.