The Priory Hotel has operated the bakery storefront as an offshoot of the nearby hotel for 15 years, and owner John Graf says the transition of Prantl’s taking over Priory's Fine Pastries started in August. Last week the Priory Fine Pastries' website started to redirect to the Prantl’s website.
Graf said the decision to phase out Priory Fine Pastries was driven by wanting to focus energy on the hotel and event space, and that coming out of the pandemic closures has been a lot of work on Priory.
“COVID hit and affected just about everything we were involved in, and so I thought we needed to just focus on the hotel and event side,” says Graf. “[The bakery] was kind of an offshoot and a nice complimentary business, but it was requiring energy and focus.”
He notes that running a bakery is about a 20 hour a day endeavor, and that was really hard to balance, especially as the hotel had plenty of struggles on its own as it reopened.
“There were a lot of balls to juggle,” says Graf. “We did really extensive renovations, and the supply chain made it difficult to acquire furniture. And it was hard to find workers.”
There has been some confusion about who is running, and will run the bakery location at 528 E. Ohio St. in the North Side. The main signage is still for Priory Fine Pastries, but when Pittsburgh City Paper visited on Dec. 10, a paper sign in the window advertised a Prantl’s location.
Prantl’s spokesperson Susan McCarthy confirmed with City Paper that Prantl’s will be operating at the North Side location. The North Side location is also currently listed on Prantl’s website.
“America's Best Cake is coming to Pittsburgh's Northside,” wrote McCarthy in an email. “Customers can expect all the deliciousness of Prantl's signature products such as the original Burnt Almond Torte, Thumbprints, Cake Bars, Gems, Pepperoni Rolls and more! … Whether it is breakfast, lunch, or a break, Prantl's has just the right assortment of their specialties to add that special touch.”
Graf adds that while it was “bittersweet” to see Priory end its bakery’s run, and he knows it was “something the neighborhood appreciated,” he is happy that another locally owned and operated business like Prantl’s has taken its place. He said Prantl’s is an excellent brand.
“It's nice that it's locally operated. And we wanted to keep the bakery space open for the North Side. It is kind of a win win,” says Graf.
He says that Prantl’s is allowed to use the Priory Fine Pastries brand for about a year. McCarthy says customers at the North Side location can “expect some of the Priory favorites in addition to the Prantl's offerings.”
Prantl’s Bakery North Side: 528 E. Ohio St. prantlsbakery.com/locations/northside