One of the new vendors this year at the HDSID Farmers' Market at Grove Street is Grandma Downtown, owned and operated by Krista Zevoteck. Inspired by her Sicilian grandmother who lived in downtown Jersey City, Grandma Downtown is a fledgling Italian-American bakery that focuses on stuffed breads and rolls. There are usually large loaves, mini-loaves, a variety of stuffed rolls, breadcups, and grissini (herbed breadsticks) available.
When I visited, I got an onion roll and what I imagine is now probably one of their biggest sellers, the double-smoked bacon with smoked mozzarella roll. Made with thick-cut Schaller Weber bacon and fresh smoked mozzarella, the roll bakes up to be slightly chewy with a nice crust on the top. The bread is fairly dense but light and baked completely through without any soggy or overly doughy parts still left. The bacon and mozzarella impart a meaty, smoky flavor into the bread so each bite is is a bit salty, a bit smoky, and even a little sweet and creamy. The cheese melts to gooey indulgence but doesn't become overwhelming. While a couple of bites were on the salty side and I did wish the bacon had been cooked down a bit more, for the most part, this was a delicious and hearty roll.
After the bacon and mozzarella roll, I was worried the onion roll might pale a bit in comparison, but quite the opposite. It had a very different flavor although the roll itself seemed to be the same dough. The onions were cooked to a melt-in-your mouth tender sweetness with savory herbs liberally used throughout the roll that almost made me nostalgic for Thanksgiving stuffing. It was homey, familiar tasting and incredibly flavorful even it its simplicity. This is one of several vegetarian rolls that Grandma Downtown typically has available.
Every week seems to bring new and tempting flavor combinations including some sweet options like banana walnut nutella and I can't wait to keep trying more and more. If you can't make it to the market, Grandma Downtown also has an Etsy shop where you can purchase these delicious home-baked goods.