Long Island has lost one of its best bakeries and, with it, one of its most delicious desserts. After five years, Michael Mignano has closed Main Street Bakery in Port Washington, which means no more of his chocolate-cashew-caramel-Rice-Krispie-Hawaiian-sea-salt Main Street Bars.
“It’s hard to have a business and keep up quality,” Mignano said. “That is, if you want to make money.”
Mignano opened Main Street after serving as executive pastry chef at the Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan. “Having your own place, it’s a rite of passage for a chef. You go into it with hopes and dreams. You don’t think about equipment repairs, employment insurance, hurricane damage.”
Bakeries compete not only with one another — and Port Washington has two other fine ones, Baked to Perfection and Saint Honore — but with supermarkets and price clubs. “I get it,” Mignano said. “At the end of the day, you go to Costco and pick up a huge chocolate cake for $15.99. You come to me it’s going to be $100. Now, mine is made by hand with Belgian chocolate, cream, butter, sugar and flour, but it’s still an expense that a lot of people can’t afford.”
Mignano is returning to the hotel world: He has been appointed executive pastry chef at the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan. There, he’ll be responsible for all room service and banquets and will bake for the hotel’s Two e Bar/Lounge, where a pastry-heavy afternoon tea is served.
The supernal Main Street Bar (the bakery’s signature confection, which I once described as a Snickers Bar that had died and gone to heaven) is on hiatus. Mignano hopes to start making it at the Pierre in the fall.