Christina Lee, Photography Editor

New Haven’s newest bakery East Rock Breads celebrated a ribbon cutting after opening earlier this year. 

The owner of East Rock Breads, Bill Frisch started out selling bread via Instagram. With the support of a growing customer base and at least $15,000 in grants from New Haven business initiatives, East Rock Breads was able to open its first brick-and-mortar store in January.  

“I’m so glad people are coming to line up here on the weekends. It’s been so busy,” Frisch said. “We just try and keep everybody posted about what we have on Instagram. That’s our main form of communication.”

Frisch, who is originally from St. Louis, Missouri, began making bread as a side hobby to make ends meet after attending music school in Chicago. Eventually, breadmaking became a full-time venture. Now, he’s been making and selling bread for 12 years. 

East Rock Breads received support from the Livable City Initiative, which granted the small business $30,000 in startup funds. 

“They ended up giving us this grant. It was like spend up to $30,000 and they would reimburse half soon, as long as everything checked out,” Frisch said.

Using the grant, Frisch was able to purchase appliances such as refrigerators and ovens. 

Frisch also noted that the Small Business Development Center offered free business advising, which he said he found helpful. 

“You could have somebody call it and checkup like once a week, once a month. It’s super helpful because I’m a baker. I didn’t really know the business side of stuff,” Frisch said. 

Originally a laundromat, Frisch converted the space into the bakery himself, building shelves and countertops out of concrete.

East Rock Breads prides itself on its open kitchen, which allows the breadmaking process to be visible for customers. Frisch said he believes that knowing where your food comes from is important, an edge that small-scale production offers against large-scale bread manufacturing. 

“We’re bringing that back to the forefront. You can see us pulling the loaves out of the oven when you come here,” Frisch said. “I thought that was really important to the design of the space – to connect on that level for anybody who comes in here that I meet.”

As for the future, Frisch hopes to expand their hours and offerings. As a growing business, their operating hours are limited to the quantity of bread they can produce, with Frisch being the only baker at the time of opening. 

Currently, East Rock Breads is open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. 

“The team is growing so hopefully we’re going to be able to do some more days open. We’re just getting started slowly, making sure everything’s right, and expanding a little bit,” Frisch said. “We keep it pretty limited right now. But I’d like to do pastries, cakes and stuff like that.”

Blair Daniels, who bakes in Shelton for Panera, was recently hired to work for East Rock Breads after connecting with Frisch about bread making. His shift begins around 3 a.m. where he gets started on shaping baguettes and preparing the dough that will be baked that day. 

“It’s such a warm and welcoming environment … it’s a really great space. And all the coworkers are awesome,” Daniels said. 

For now, their menu is sourdough-focused. East Rock Breads also offers bagels and pastries, including croissants. After trying a fresh croissant, Stephanie Bittle ’26 said that she hopes to further explore the store and the variety of breads they offer.

“I really liked the texture and flavor of the croissant as it was chewy on the inside and crisp on the outside,” she said. 

East Rock Breads is located at 942 State St.