Pita All Day at Mid-East Bakery

Tony and Marie Aflak holding their freshly baked pita bread. (Photo by John Alexander via Brooklyn Reporter)

Mid-East Bakery, which has been selling pita bread, spinach pies and more in Bay Ridge since 1976, is getting a new lease on life thanks to the daughter and son-in-law of the original owners, writes John Alexander in Brooklyn Reporter.

Marie Aflak, who is the daughter of original owners Antoine and Frangie Tabet, will be running the bakery with her husband Tony Aflak and their sons Alex and Thomas.

Her parents were contemplating closing the store last December. Both had worked hard over the years and were looking forward to retirement. Marie’s brother Michael, who had been managing the shop for 17 years, had accepted a job opportunity in New Jersey and could no longer oversee the bakery.

“Dad came here in 1970 from a small town in northern Lebanon where the Cedars grow and worked at Damascus Bakery,” Marie told this paper. “After six years of working there, he had the opportunity to open this store. He had a cousin of his help him out and it’s just been a family business since then.”

When her parents made the decision to close up shop, Tony and Marie expressed their desire to take over the business.

Marie had learned to cook all kinds of Middle Eastern specialties from her mother and works as a chef at Xaverian High School. She had also opened her own shop, Grapevine, a few years ago.

The Aflaks want the bakery’s ever-popular pita bread to be available all day, not sold out by 11:30 a.m. as it often has been in the past.

In fact, Marie’s father — a fixture at the bakery who could always be found sitting in a chair by the store’s entrance — was even known by some as the “pita bread Nazi,” much like the soup Nazi character on “Seinfeld,” because he would ration the bread in favor of his regular customers.

“It’s very important for us that the people know that the bread is available in any quantity that they need all day long,” Tony added. “If customers want 10 dozen, they can have 10 dozen. There will be no more rationing.”

Go to Brooklyn Reporter to read about other changes in store at the bakery.

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