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,
Mamma Leone also offers thin and crisp Roman-style pizza in
Neapolitan coffee options are espresso ($2), macchiato ($2.50), cappuccino ($3.50) and
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.