A Profile of Denis Granarolo, Terra Momo Master Baker

When Denis Granarolo was a boy growing up in France, he loved to play basketball.

“I would play with American people, and I liked the way they interact – they were very good people,” Granarolo said.

So when Granarolo’s bakery closed in France in 1993, he began looking for ways to come to America.

In 1998, he opened up the Witherspoon Bread Company with the Momo brothers, Carlo and Raoul, who own the Terra Momo Restaurant Group, including Mediterra, Eno Terra and Teresa Caffé, as well as smaller cafes in the Princeton Public Library and McCarter Theater, known as Terra Libri and Terra Teatro, respectively.

In the beginning, Witherspoon Bread Company, now known as the Terra Momo Bread Company, only offered bread and croissants.

But, according to Granarolo, “People here are more interested, more curious [than in France]… Here, they want to try everything.”

Now the bakery offers a wide variety of artisan breads as well as pastries, including tarts, olive oil cake and eclairs. 

However, the small staff working under Granarolo has to provide bread and baked goods for all five other Momo eateries, plus make enough for the bakery itself. Granarolo has thought about expanding from the 1,000 square foot space located on Witherspoon Street, and if he does, he hopes to offer on-site baking classes.

Granarolo did not grow up determined to become a baker.

Born in Algeria, he moved quite often as a child. Later, he attended dental school.

“I hated dentist’s school, and I met my wife at that time,"Granarolo said. "My dad knew a baker, and so I said 'why not try it?' And I liked it.”

He returned to school, passed an exam, and opened up his first bakery in France in 1983.

Now he begins work every morning at 3 a.m.

“I manage the production, meaning I have to be sure everything is ready on time, all the orders are done, and be sure that the quality is top,” Granarolo said. 

He is always on the lookout for new recipes but says his bread preference will always lie with the baguette. 

“There is nothing quite like it,” he said. 

By Miranda Alperstein

FIND US

Terra Momo Bread Company

74 Witherspoon Street,

Princeton, NJ 08542

Phone. 609-688-0188

Fax. 609-688-0389

Email. cgranarolo@terramomo.com