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Dozens line up outside bakeries — to grab their Christmas sweets

Long Island bakeries try to keep pace with rush of customers on Christmas Eve.

Patrons fill the store during the holiday rush

Patrons fill the store during the holiday rush at Spiga Bakery in Bellmore on Monday, Christmas Eve. Photo Credit: Jeffrey Basinger

Keeping pace with the holiday rush for bakeries on Long Island is like an endurance sport. Orders for custom cakes and holiday cookies start streaming in around Dec. 15 and keep coming through Christmas, said Robert Caravello, owner of Spiga Bakery in Bellmore.

But the busiest day of the year is always Christmas Eve, Caravello said Monday while carrying a tray of bread stuffed with prosciutto.

Dozens of customers lined up outside Spiga even before the shop opened at 6 a.m., Caravello said. The line snaked out the door for most of the morning, and by 10 there were still 50 people waiting inside.

Lois Greewe, 67, of Bellmore, waited about 30 minutes for a tray of butter cookies and afterward sat outside the store to rest her feet, she said.

“It’s always busy here, but not like at Christmas,” Greewe said.

Luca Caravello, Spiga’s head baker, gulped down another cup of espresso in the kitchen after crafting 20 yule logs coated with fudge and stuffed with butter cream. He hoped the buzz from the caffeine would keep him going throughout the day.  

“It’s a lot of chaos, a lot of running around, and we’re always short on time,” he said.  

At Torta Fina Bake Shoppe in Babylon, bakers and cashiers also rushed to keep up with demand. Andy Weiss, of Commack, and Peter Quinones, of Bay Shore, waited in a line that wound through the small store.

They both come each year to Torta Fina, Weiss for the bakery’s old-fashioned fudge cake and Quinones for the chocolate-covered cheesecake. Weiss tried to reserve one of the cakes Sunday but was told he hadn’t called far enough in advance, and so he just hoped they wouldn’t run out before he reached the front counter.

Both men said the pastries were well worth the wait, but a woman standing in between them disagreed.

“I can’t do it,” she said after being in line for about 10 minutes. “I’ve got too much stuff to do today.”

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