Neighbourhood Stops and Shops: Anima Romana brings taste of Italy to the Beach

Dulce and Sheila at Anima Romana Italian Bakery at 149 Main St. The bakery opened at its location just south of Gerrard Street East in April.

New Italian bakery Anima Romana strives to bring the taste of Italy to people in the Beach. They are dedicated to serving an authentic experience. While not their official slogan, they want people to feel like they’re spending an hour in Rome whenever they come to the bakery.

Anima Romana’s story begins in Italy, where the culinary duo behind the kitchen, Sheila and Dulce’s, passion for food began.

They have loved food since they were three and that has been a key focus of their lives. They opened a restaurant in Rome, crafted dishes, and taught cooking classes around the country. Their love of cooking has only grown stronger as the years have gone by.

Also part of the team are the owners and friends, Subhra and David.

They fell in love with the delights of Rome and enjoy cooking and baking as well. They met Sheila and Dulce, who introduced them to the finer art and science of baking.

From there, they joined together to create a business venture that brings a piece of Rome to Toronto.

Subhra and David are the owners of the bakery, while Sheila and Dulce lead the kitchen.

Anima Romana opened on Main Street, just south of Gerrard Street East, at the end of April.

With years of culinary experience under their belt, Sheila and Dulce are sharing their love of food and Italy to a new group in a new city.

Anima Romana sells a variety of foods for meals such as sandwiches and Roman-style pizza, and baked goods including biscotti, donuts, croissants, cannolis, and le Viennoiserie.

Other popular items are the many flavours of the best Italian gelato and fresh orange juice.

All the bread, including the pizza, is baked with Sheila’s personal sourdough starter called Peppino. Peppino is a 17 year old sourdough starter that is a big part of Anima Romana’s success. Delicately taken care of each day with flour and water, without Peppino there is no bread.

Quality, handmade products baked with love are important to the bakery.

“For me a dough has to have three ingredients. It’s either water, flour, and salt or it’s water, flour, and sugar,” said Sheila. “If you go and read the ingredients of bread you buy it’s about 53, 55 ingredients…it’s too many.”

The neighbourhood has been very supportive and the bakery already has regulars.
Sheila loves to talk to the older ladies who come by because they remind her of her mother and help her feel better when she misses home.

Beaches-East York Member of Provincial Parliament Mary-Margaret McMahon has even given her stamp of approval as a frequent customer.

“It’s a very supportive neighbourhood, very, very nice to us,” said Subhra. “(The MPP) presented us with a ‘thank you for being part of the community.’”

The bakery always has something going on and is hosting weekend events. They have one slated for the Canada Day weekend featuring an Italian singer and caricature artist.

“For the summer, our goal is to kind of give back to community by having regular weekend events,” said Subhra. “Most weekends we’re going to try and do something for the community to come out and enjoy.”

The bakery has around 10 employees, tables on the sidewalk, and a mural on the front.

Customers are welcomed by the bakery’s three mascots, Pizzetta, Cornettone, and Pagnottello for pizza, pastries, and bread. There’s also a signing wall on the inside for everyone to leave their mark.

“We’re simply here and we take care of our customers and we like to welcome them in,” said Sheila.

“What I would like is people to feel like when they come in here is a little trip to Italy.”

Anima Romana Bakery is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is located at 149 Main St.

To learn more about Anima Romana’s story and products, please visit:

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