Foodies are finding this hidden Pawcatuck pastry shop
Carla Gennuso considered a couple of other professions before settling on culinary arts.
She attended piano technology — as in piano tuning school in Boston and later graduated from the fire academy in California and worked a short stint as a firefighter before changing course yet again and enrolling in culinary school.
The third time would stick. Gennuso, who was raised in Brewster, N.Y., thrived in culinary arts in California and worked at a bakery near her home in Santa Barbara while getting her education. The pastry chef she worked for hailed from France where he was trained — he was “the real deal,” she says — and he made Gennuso his assistant. It was there, working alongside that professional and other highly trained pastry chefs that Gennuso picked up many of the skills she employs today at her eatery called Loveridge Place, named for her late maternal grandmother, Louise Loveridge.
Situated in lower Pawcatuck, not far from the river that divides Stonington and Westerly and just off Mechanic Street, Loveridge is both a pastry shop and a restaurant. For now, the business is open only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays,
Her pastry case is loaded with delicious-looking goodies, but there are also breakfast sandwiches, soups, quiches and specials, like the meatball sandwich with provolone and marinara and another sandwich, the tri-tip steak, with peppers, onions, asiago and house hot pepper rings on a soft roll.
Virtually everything served at Loveridge is made from scratch, including the croissants, bagels, bread, scones, cookies, tarts, soups, quiche, and even the jam and pickles.
Three years ago, Gennuso left California and moved back to the East Coast, to the southeastern Connecticut/southern Rhode Island area where her family lives now.
For a time, she was the executive chef at M/BAR in Mystic, but last spring leased the property at 2 Prospect St. — longtime locals will remember it as the original Pizza Lady site — and overhauled the interior before opening Loveridge Place last September. She would like to be open more days than three, but in a busier location. Gennuso says she would keep the Prospect Street property for food preparation and open a retail outlet elsewhere. She is actively looking at properties.
But a steady stream of regulars has found Loveridge Place and faithfully stops in for fresh-made coffee and breakfast, lunch and pastries. One of the most popular picks is the local soupy sandwich — the dry cured sausage served with a fried egg, provolone and red pepper relish on a croissant.
Her croissants get rave reviews and are not just the standard. She makes a raisin roll croissant and the coffee roll, which is filled with an almond cream and iced with fondant. She likens it to a glazed doughnut. Her croissants come in different shapes and are filled or topped with curds, creams, puddings, jams and jellies.
She makes traditional cookies like chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin, and then there are ginger snaps, and shortbreads like coffee walnut or pistachio.
For her scones, Gennuso uses a recipe that another baker once shared with her and says she often thinks she should get back in touch with him to let him know her customers say they are the most delicious scones they’ve ever tasted.
Recently, a customer asked for Boston cream pie, and Gennuso explains she initially thought he meant a chocolate pudding pie. She has only two employees, and one of them explained the difference to her. She had never made one, but took the order and got much praise afterwards. Now, mini Boston cream pies are available alongside the other pastries.
Her tarts, like apple, pear and pumpkin, are sold whole or as individual servings, and are also popular. But Gennuso wants customers to know Loveridge, with its rolling pin logo, is more than a bakery.
Her brother, who runs the highly rated Chez Pascal in Providence with his wife, has helped her tweak some recipes, and her lunch business is growing. Offerings include soups like kale and chick pea, Tuscan chicken or fish stew, plus the daily quiche, which is created from whatever Gennuso finds fresh that day. And recently, she’s been experimenting with salads.
Gennuso knows her business is small and not in a busy retail location, but she has higher aspirations. In the future, she foresees customers arriving at a larger location, sitting down for coffee and a pastry, and taking home soups and sandwiches for later.
“We might be a little out of the way, but people are finding us, they’re coming in, and they’re coming back again,” she says.
Who: Loveridge Place
Where: 2 Prospect St., Pawcatuck
Hours: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
Owner: Carla Gennuso
Contact: (860) 495-2664