Baked Time (Franca Bakery)

Franca Bakery, 1235 Princeton Ave, Trenton, NJ
Open daily: M-F 6AM-5PM, Sa 7AM-4PM, Su 7AM-1PM
(609) 695-6051   Google Maps

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It’s a sad commentary on Trenton’s old-line bakeries that they don’t do a consistently better job than the bakery departments of major grocery chains. I’d say Wegman’s does a much better job than most Trenton bakeries, and even Shop Rite does about as well.

Franca’s is clearly the best of the old-line Italian bakeries, beating Shop Rite, though not (consistently) Wegman’s. However, there are enough quality items, at very attractive prices, to merit inclusion on this website. The original store front on Princeton Avenue appears stuck in a time warp, reminding me of the places I used to visit as a child.

Franca’s does some lovely, crusty peasant breads, a mean sfoliatella (a ridged, chewy, triangular pastry filled with a lemony ricotta filling), and a decent cheese cake. There may be other good items as well; I’ll confess to have sampled only a few.

At the root of the problem is that Trenton bakeries seem to have decided that they need to keep prices low even if it means reducing quality. A pastry in most Trenton bakeries is $1-$1.50, less than half of what you’ll pay at Panera Bread or Witherspoon Baking Company in Princeton. Certainly, the main-stream demographic of Trenton doesn’t support many up-scale businesses. On the other hand, it’s a death spiral. Why go out of your way to buy from a bakery at all, if the quality is no better than Shop Rite’s?

Franca’s hasn’t been totally immune to this trend (old timers tell me that their Easter cake is a shadow of it’s former, glorious self), but it has resisted it more than most. For the stuff that remains good, it’s a great deal.

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5 thoughts on “Baked Time”

  1. I drive up from Ocean City, NJ frequently and, when I do, I make a beeline for the Farmer’s Market and that Franca pizza dough. I have my co-workers hooked, too.

  2. I drive over from Morrisville weekly for their 7 grain bread-best I’ve ever had. I’ve tried the sfoliatella and it was excellent.

  3. I’ve enjoyed consistently high-quality baked goods from Franca’s. In fact, the other day – I was toying with the idea of driving to Francas from Bucks County for a couple of their donuts – which are like nothing else available around here. Try them, you will not be dissapointed. Bonus – they’re at the Tranton Farmer’s Market on Saturdays with a sub-set of their overall selection.

  4. love his cakes..He did my wedding cake for half the price of others and since then I have used him for lots of family events.. they are great last minute too… love the taste!

  5. Great bread, awesome blueberry apple strudel. Frank makes all my families cakes, he is the ace of cakes, without the ricecrispy and fondant layers. He has made me a robot, a pocketbook, and an orange Chuck Taylor hi-top cake!

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