Make us your home page
Instagram

Gala is just the icing on the cake

TAMPA — Even at the grand opening of his new plant, Phil Alessi was working.

He greeted guests at the door, shaking hands with friends and family. Then Herb Waschull walked over.

Waschull, a former director of bakery operations at Publix, was holding a special French butter cream pastry recipe. He handed it to Alessi.

"You have got to tell me how this works," Alessi said, looking at the ingredients and measurements.

Alessi's passion for pastry is one of the reasons his family's bakery business has been around for 95 years. Friday marked the grand opening of Alessi Bakery's $20-million, 100,000-square-foot manufacturing plant.

Alessi moved from his 35,000-square-foot plant to the larger, ultramodern facility off Waters Avenue in the Town 'N Country area to meet rising demand for his confections.

The company makes pastries for large retailers such as Publix, Food Lion, Sysco Food Systems and Darden Restaurants. There are plans to step up more national production. Right now, Alessi ships baked goods to 42 states.

More than 50 guests, including former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco and Hillsborough State Attorney Mark Ober, attended. Alessi was like a proud father.

"Wait till you see the back of this place," he told guests.

The lobby of the new plant has giant pictures of confections such as petits fours.

In the warehouse are huge mixers and vats, ovens and freezers, pallets of sugar, frosting and cake mix, and, of course, thousands of racks of baking sheets.

Inside, guests snacked on empanadas, sandwiches and cheese and crackers. The dessert cart included 18 feet of pastries.

Alessi said the new plant also will supply products to the Alessi Cafe, a new concept that he says will compete with Panera Bread. He said the first one will be in downtown Tampa in six months. One in St. Petersburg is to follow.

"This is one of the happiest days of my life," Alessi said from a podium set up in the warehouse. "I wish my dad and uncle could be here. I know they'd be proud."

Jared Leone can be reached at jleone@sptimes.com or (813) 269-5314.

Gala is just the icing on the cake 04/25/08 [Last modified: Sunday, April 27, 2008 1:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trigaux: How Moffitt Cancer's M2Gen startup won $75 million from Hearst

    Business

    TAMPA — A Moffitt Cancer Center spin-off that's building a massive genetic data base of individual patient cancer information just caught the attention of a deep-pocketed health care investor.

    Richard P. Malloch is the president of Hearst Business Media, which is announcing a $75 million investment in M2Gen, the for-profit cancer informatics unit spun off by Tampa's Moffitt Cancer Center. Malloch's job is to find innovative investments for the Hearst family fortune. A substantial amount has been invested in health care, financial and the transportation and logistics industries.
  2. Three-hour police standoff ends, thanks to a cigarette

    News

    TAMPA — A man threatening to harm himself was arrested by Tampa police on Tuesday after a three-hour standoff.

  3. Another Hollywood nursing home resident dies. It's the 9th in post-Irma tragedy.

    State Roundup

    The Broward County Medical Examiner's office is investigating another death of a resident of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills — the ninth blamed on the failure of a cooling system that became a stifling deathtrap three days after Irma hit.

    Carlos Canal, pictured at 47 years old, came to Miami from Cuba in 1960. Above is his citizenship photo. [Courtesy of Lily Schwartz]
  4. Despite Hurricane Irma, Hillsborough remains on pace to unlock hotel tax that could pay for Rays ballpark

    Tourism

    TAMPA — Despite the threat of a catastrophic storm, it was business as usual at many Hillsborough County hotels in the days before Hurricane Irma bore down on the Tampa Bay region.

    The Grand Hyatt near TIA closed during Hurricane Irma, but many other Hillsborough hotels were open and saw an influx.
  5. New Graham-Cassidy health care plan stumbles under opposition from governors

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — The suddenly resurgent Republican effort to undo the Affordable Care Act was dealt a blow on Tuesday when a bipartisan group of governors came out against a proposal gaining steam in the Senate.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., joined by, from left, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., speaks to reporters as he pushes a last-ditch effort to uproot former President Barack Obama's health care law, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. To win, 50 of the 52 GOP senators must back it -- a margin they failed to reach when the chamber rejected the effort in July. [/J. Scott Applewhite | Associated Press]