When it was announced in October of last year that Brooklyn bakery Robicelli's would be moving from New York to Baltimore, it was seen as a unique win for the city food scene.
Now, however, it looks like this was not the culinary coup it once appeared to be: Robicelli's today announced plans to open 100 stores worldwide over the next decade, according to NY Eater, as part of a partnership with Fransmart LLC, a company that has helped other small restaurants, including Five Guys, turn into franchise networks.
And it turns out they're going to maintain a Brooklyn location, set to open in the spring, after all. The Robicellis are keeping ownership of that store and the two they are planning for Baltimore, Eater reports. The locations of the two Baltimore stores have not yet been named. The 100 new outposts will be run by franchisees.
So t it sounds like, in the not-too-distant future, the bakery's coveted Nutellasagna and cupcakes will be available in some place like White Marsh in addition to Baltimore.
But as Allison Robicelli says to City Paper via email, her and her husband's relocation to Baltimore is a get for the city in terms of jobs.
The Baltimore locations "will be the model for all the franchises we sell: one will be a bakery with a small counter, where we'll not only be making all the products, but also developing the systems that will allow us to make from-scratch desserts on a far larger scale," she writes. "The second will be a cafe concept - it will have seating, higher-end coffee and tea, possibly some plated desserts for table service, and will be where we will be testing all our new products."
They hope the chefs and young cooks they work with here will eventually go on to man kitchens in the newly opened stores as they come on board.
"We're both big believers in teaching young cooks and promoting from within, so we're hoping that the people we begin working with in Baltimore will one day become the people who end up running the kitchens as we expand," she writes.
She adds that the bakery's move to Baltimore was a major factor in the deal with Fransmart. In addition to the city's proximity both to Fransmart's East Coast headquarters outside Washington, D.C. and other metropolitan areas, the ability to test new concepts makes Baltimore "the perfect place for a business hub."
"This offer, plain and simple, happened because we chose to move to Baltimore," she writes. "There's a lot of people out there who are taking notice of the city, trust me."
OK, got all that? Now, if you're ready to taste some of what Robicelli's offers, head to a pop-up the bakery is having at Parts & Labor on Friday starting at 4 p.m.