INTERVIEW WITH: Nick Ambliotis, Founder/Owner
YEAR STARTED: 2001
How did your business start?
Mediterra Bakehouse was founded by Nick Ambeliotis, whose history with food and bread goes way back and, in typical Mediterra fashion, centers around family. Nick’s father, Michael Ambeliotis, owned a grocery store in Ohio, and when Nick took it over, he started stocking the shelves with obscure, hard-to-find ingredients from around the world. This led Nick to a wide-ranging career scouring Europe for the finest cheeses, olive oils, pastas and charcuterie. It was during those travels that he developed an appreciation for well-made artisan breads that became a true passion. Eventually, he left his job, sold his house, and put everything he had into building a commercial artisan bakery.
“At Mediterra Bakehouse, our mission is to take one of the oldest and simplest forms of food known to man, and perfect it. To take flour, water, and salt and pursue perfection. I still haven’t found it.” -Nick Ambeliotis, Owner
What do you find to be the most rewarding part about your work?
Our bread passes through every socioeconomic class. It doesn't matter who you are. Yes, you can find our bread in high-end restaurants, and upscale grocers. But our bread is a part of the Pittsburgh community. We are vendors at 12 farmers markets throughout the city, and we also donate bread daily - to churches, local food banks, and through other organizations including 412 Food Rescue.
What is something about your product that many customers might be surprised to learn?
Most people think we're a "mom and pop" bakery, and while we started that way back in 2001, we have grown significantly. Today, our products are sold in Whole Foods stores throughout the entire Mid-Atlantic and Southwest regions. We have been fortunate enough to scale our operation in such a way that we've grown from producing 100 loaves a day to 10,000, without ever sacrificing the quality or craftsmanship of our product.
What is the most popular item that you sell?
Two of our longtime best-sellers are our Pecan Cranberry and our Olive Farm. However, one of our newest breads has been quickly taking the lead: Red Fife Levain. Full bread description and ingredients as follows:
Red fife bread has a wonderful nutty, slightly sweet flavor that works well in many settings. Our Red Fife Batard is made using organic heritage red fife grain grown by us on our own land in Arizona. The entire milling process is done in-house using traditional stone-ground milling equipment. Natural levain (sourdough) starter is added, giving this loaf a subtle, tangy bite. Use it in place of a traditional sourdough bread, paired with your favorite meats and cheeses, or simply toast and enjoy!
INGREDIENTS: Red fife whole wheat flour, raw wheat germ, sea salt, filtered water.
Do you have a favorite?
My favorite is Paesano!
What are 5 things you just can't live without?
3. St. Nicholas
4. Great wine
5. Great cheese
When not at the Holy Cross Farmers Market, where can we find you and/or buy your products?
The bakehouse is located in Robinson Township, and walk-ins are always welcome! We also have a café in Sewickley, where you can purchase our breads, pastries, as well as a full café menu and coffee beverages. We also sell a slew of imported olive oils, conservas, and more.
You can find a selection of our breads right up the street at Whole Foods! In the South Hills area, you can also find our breads at:
Uptown Mt. Lebanon Farmers Market
...as well as many other restaurants and grocers throughout the greater Pittsburgh area!
Do you have a favorite recipe that uses your products that you'd like to share?
We love this recipe for Panzanella Salad: https://www.bonappetit.com/story/panzanella-bread-salad