Mama Leone's Offers Freshly Baked Italian Bread in Edgewater

Italian baked goods at Mamma Leone.EXPAND
Italian baked goods at Mamma Leone.
Mamma Leone Bakery
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The smell of baking bread wafts through the door at Mamma Leone, a family-run Italian bakery in Edgewater where Benedetta di Persia, a Tuscan chef and baker, kneads dough by hand with two assistants to make sure it will hold for days.

Together with her husband, Gianpiero di Persia, the former restaurateur and master baker opened the 1,000-square-foot space in January to service the neighborhood. Now a regular crowd of Italians, Venezuelans, and other customers from as far as Key Biscayne stop by daily to shop for assorted Italian handmade savories and sweets, according to Gianpiero.

"A lot of clients start by stepping in for a simple order of baguette and then keep coming back to diversify. They drink a coffee and eat the pastries with their hands one day, sit down for a proper meal the next," says Valerio Guidi, the Di Persia couple's son-in-law and bakery manager.

Mamma Leone's list of daily baked bread includes baguette ($3.50); ciabatta ($5.90); sourdough ($10); and walnut, olive oil, and turmeric options ($7), all made with organic flour and Italian extra virgin olive oil. Breads are used to make panini filled with Parma prosciutto e mozzarella, tonno e pomodoro, or roast beef and arugula ($9.90 each); focaccia filled with onion ($6) or topped with spinach and egg ($7.90); and tramezzini made with chicken salad or ham and cheese ($5.80).

Handmade bread at Mamma Leone.EXPAND
Handmade bread at Mamma Leone.
Mamma Leone Bakery

The list of sweets and pastries includes chocolate, Nutella, or cream croissants ($3.50); bomboloni filled with Nutella or custard cream ($3.50); and cannoli ($2). There are also apple and pear cakes ($3.95 each), Nutella crostata ($4.50), and torta della nonna ($4.95), a pastry-crust cake with custard cream and pine nuts.

Mamma Leone also offers thin and crisp Roman-style pizza in margherita, pepperoni, or marinara with tomato sauce, anchovies, and capers ($5.50). Other lunch options include eggplant parmigiana ($13.90), quiche ($6.90), and Caprese salad ($8.90).

Neapolitan coffee options are espresso ($2), macchiato ($2.50), cappuccino ($3.50) and caffe latte ($3.50). Other beverages are fresh-squeezed orange juice ($4.50), San Pellegrino soda ($2), hot tea ($2.50), and iced tea ($3).

Gianpiero, a real-estate entrepreneur and former owner of the Poltrona Frau and Armani Casa showrooms in the Design District, says the Mamma Leone will open a new location near Miami Shores next year and five other outposts in Miami-Dade in the next five years. All will feature the intimate size and artisanal baking of the Edgewater shop.

The vision, Guidi says, is to cater to customers who, like the bakery's Italian owners, make eating the best part of the day. "For us, food is first always."

Mamma Leone Bakery. 2508 NE Second Ave., Miami; 786-577-0475; mammaleonebakery.com. Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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