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Bakehouse Owner Cites Health Issues In Decision To Close

January 9, 2019
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Bakehouse Owner Cites Health Issues In Decision To Close

KINGSTON — After 15 years in business, a popular bakery cafe and burger joint in Kingston has closed.

Owner Frank DeViva said he decided to close the Bakehouse & Biggie Burger in the United Penn Plaza after a doctor recently found his artery was 90 percent blocked and he needed another stent five years after he suffered a heart attack.

DeViva, 58, said the health problems came on right before the holidays after working seven days a week, starting as early as 2:30 a.m. and leaving at 5 p.m.

He said he felt he always needed to be at the Bakehouse. His passion always has been food, taking care of people and making them happy.

“We had a great run. It was a great 15 years,” DeViva said. “The Bakehouse has been a major part of the community and there will be a void.”

The Bakehouse was known for its artisan breads, sweets, New York-style bagels, a vast selection of gourmet sandwiches, breakfast sandwiches and homemade soups. Biggie Burger, which moved from Edwardsville into the Bakehouse last year, offered Angus burgers, fries and shakes.

“We handmade everything. We baked everything,” DeViva said. “We made soups from scratch and sauces from scratch. It’s a very major undertaking and you need a slew of good employees doing the work and there was nothing easy about it.”

 

About 20 employees worked at the Bakehouse & Biggie Burger. The business is closing for good although a sign in front says “closed for cleaning and remodel.”

DeViva, who is originally from New York, has worked in the food serving business for decades. He started out with restaurants in Long Island and worked as a division coordinator for the baking department at Wegmans, traveling around and opening locations for the grocery chain.

He later worked and commuted to New Jersey as director of baking for another company. He dreaded the commute and decided to open his own bakery and cafe in Kingston. When he first opened the Bakehouse, there were not many other places like it, he said.

Over the years, DeViva also has donated to community causes such as giving scholarships for students to attend Wyoming Seminary’s Performing Arts summer camp.

After he suffered a heart attack, he said things became “tricky” for him. He wasn’t able to do all the things he used to be and lost some key employees.

“The last five years have been challenging,” he said. “It really just got harder and harder.”

He said the “killer” came before Thanksgiving when he learned he had a 90 percent blockage and needed a fourth stent.

When that happened, DeViva said he developed an awareness that if he had another heart attack, he might not have made it.

“I’ve always been a hard worker. I have always worked a ton of hours,” he said. “You don’t think anything is ever going to happen to you. I thought I was invincible.”

DeViva has served many loyal customers over the years. He said some customers would come in two or three times a day. He often would receive about 150 phone calls and 250 emails a day and he said it has been a “great way to make a living.”

DeViva lives in Forty Fort with his wife Patty. His three children have worked at the Bakehouse. They also have four grandchildren.

He said his wife said she wants him to dance at their granddaughter’s wedding and he decided it was a “time to make a change.”

“It’s a very sad thing for me,” he said. “It’s been a big part of our family. The Bakehouse is like one of my children. We saw it at its birth and through adolescence so it’s really a rough thing to do.”

Contact the writer: dallabaugh@citizensvoice.com, 570-821-2115 @CVAllabaugh

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