Fingerpaint’s Ed Mitzen and His Family Purchase Saratoga’s Bread Basket

Fingerpaint founder Ed Mitzen and his family had a busy summer. In the month of July, sandwiched between their prized Thoroughbred Tiz the Law‘s winning of the Belmont Stakes in June and taking the Travers Stakes in August, the Mitzens closed a deal to purchase the 38-year-old Bread Basket Bakery in Saratoga Springs.

It wasn’t any old COVID impulse buy. The Mitzens are turning the beloved for-profit bakery into a financial pipeline for local charities, with 100 percent of future profits from the Spring Street–based business going directly to charity. “We found out the business and building were for sale in the summer,” says Mitzen. “The bakery has always been a favorite of ours, and we saw it as an opportunity to keep the tradition alive, while also helping out the community by donating all of the future profits to charity.”

The new interior of Saratoga’s Bread Basket Bakery. (Francesco D’Amico)

Longtime Bread Basket owner Joan Tallman first started baking what would become the bakery’s array of delicious fare—which includes its signature bear claw, muffins, cakes, cupcakes, pies and scones—out of her basement in 1982. (The Bread Basket also bakes its own breads and has become known among the soup-and-sandwich set as one of the area’s best lunch spots.) Nearing retirement, it was Tallman’s desire to see the bakery continue. Her son, Matt, has agreed to stay on as the general manager, and its bakers and chefs will be sticking around, too. Mitzen says that keeping the bakery’s core staff intact will allow the same great baked goods to continue being made for its Saratoga fans. “The last thing we wanted to do was screw up the scones,” he says.

Prior to its grand reopening, the bakery underwent a full renovation, and a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place this Thursday, October 29 at 2pm. In keeping with the bakery’s new mission—”baking a difference”—the Mitzens will be presenting a check for $25,000 to Troy-based nonprofit Capital Roots at the event.

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