Just about anyone familiar with Long Branch knows Caputo’s, a traditional made-from-scratch Italian bakery that has been making life sweeter for area residents since 1960.
The first Caputo to settle in Long Branch was Joseph Caputo, who emigrated from Bari, Italy in 1923 to join his brothers in the bakery business in Brooklyn.
The Caputo family had been baking bread back in Bari long before anyone crossed the ocean to America, notes the present owner of the bakery, also Joseph Caputo.
He represents the fifth generation of Caputos to earn their living as bakers.
Joseph, who is named for his grandfather, shared a little of the family history with The Two River Times.
After 27 years working at the family bakery in Brooklyn, Joseph Caputo decided to relocate the family and the bakery to Long Branch, where he’d been a frequent summer visitor for years.
On June 5, 1960, Caputo’s Bakery opened its doors on South Broadway in Long Branch, and Joseph Caputo built a home for his relocated family in neighboring Oceanport.
It proved to be a wise decision. Since then, generations of Caputos have worked their sweet magic creating cakes, pies, cookies and pastries for weddings, birthdays, religious occasions, holidays and graduations.
They’ve also helped to sweeten Sunday morning breakfasts and all of those smaller rituals of daily life that call for a special pastry or an artfully made cookie.
After the elder Joseph Caputo’s death in the early ’70s, his wife, Ursula ran the bakery until her son, Jack, took over the business.
Jack’s son, Joseph, the present owner of Caputo’s, recalls that at the age of 11 he would wake up early on Saturday mornings, when the working day at the bakery began at 3 a.m.
If his father saw him standing around, he’d find him a chore to do, Joseph recalled. “He’d send me out to clean the dumpsters. I’ve literally done it all, from cleaning to baking to decorating, to serving our customers, I learned every aspect of the business.”
“From the time I could walk, I was at the bakery,” Joseph recalled, and because his family lived next door to Joseph’s grandmother, he spent a lot of time with her. He officially began working in the family business during the summers starting at the age of 14.
Like his grandfather, grandmother and father before him, Joseph Caputo enjoys his trade and is proud to do it well.
He is proud, too, that Caputo’s remains what it was when his grandfather established it – a true, traditional Italian bakery where everything is made from scratch.