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Mediterra Bakehouse, a Staple in Pittsburgh, Founded by Nick Ambeliotis in 2002 – Now at Whole Foods

PITTSBURGH, PA – In 2002, Nick Ambeliotis founded Mediterra Bakehouse in Pittsburgh, PA. From its inception, the artisan bread bakery has been focused on quality ingredients and time-honored techniques. The bakery sources ingredients locally as often as possible and naturally ferments each and every loaf to ensure nutrient retention and the best possible flavor.

As noted in Breadlines, the Bread Bakers Guild of America’s digital magazine, Ambeliotis grew up in Ohio where his father owned a grocery store. Eventually, he took over the store and started stocking the shelves with eclectic ingredients from around the world. This led Ambeliotis to a wide-ranging career scouring Europe for fine cheeses, olive oils, pasta, and charcuterie. Along the way, he also developed an appreciation for well-made artisan breads that evolved into a true passion. Over 20 years ago, Ambeliotis left his job, sold his house, and put everything he had into building Mediterra Bakehouse, the bakery based in Pittsburgh.

In 2002, Ambeliotis rented a 4,000 square foot unit in an industrial park just outside of downtown Pittsburgh. Over time, his children— Mike, Anthony, Nicole, and Nick— joined the business which has expanded to nearly 40,000 square feet at the Pittsburgh headquarters, allowing the bakery to serve local farmers markets and patrons, along with commercial clients including local restaurants, grocery stores, hotels, and resorts.

Mediterra Bakehouse breads are available at Whole Foods. Photo: Mediterra Bakehouse /Facebook

Their artisan breads are baked using traditional French methods, relying solely on natural sourdough starters instead of commercial yeast to preserve their distinct tang and nutritional value. Each loaf is shaped by hand before it is baked in one of their massive hearth ovens, built onsite by a seventh-generation French company. With more than 30,000 pounds of firebrick and a baking surface composed of volcanic rock from the Alps, these ovens help maintain consistent temperatures as the bread bakes. Given the scale of their operation, Mediterra Bakehouse also uses state-of-the-art commercial ovens for some product lines.

Among the wide range of Bakehouse products, Mt. Athos Fire Bread features a cross on top and is made with unbleached, unbromated wheat flour, whole wheat flour, raw wheat germ, filtered water, Sicilian sea salt, and cornmeal. For those outside the Pittsburgh area, Mediterra Bakehouse breads are available at Whole Foods.

Ambeliotis also founded Mediterra Cafe to satisfy his longtime passion for fine food and to provide a warm and inviting gathering space for Pittsburgh natives and visitors alike.

He first opened the Sewickley cafe in June of 2018 with the mission of serving high quality coffee, pastries, breakfast and lunch, in addition to hard-to-find cheeses, charcuterie and more. All the retail items are hand-selected by Ambeliotis himself, and every item from the kitchen is made using fresh, top quality ingredients. In October 2020, the Mt. Lebanon cafe location opened, and the third location in Lawrenceville opened in 2023.

Mediterra Bakehouse partnered with 412 Food Rescue in 2017 to donate food to neighbors in need. Photo: Mediterra Bakehouse /Facebook

Each location provides customers with superior meals in an atmosphere reminiscent of a European café but also as warm and inviting as home.

As a family-owned and operated business, Mediterra has found its niche. All of the delicacies in the pastry case are created by Nick’s daughter-in-law and Head Pastry Chef Aundrea Ambeliotis, who brings her artistic eye and creative flair to all of the pastry items and cakes. The outstanding Roman-style pizzas are handcrafted by Nick’s son, Anthony Ambeliotis, who also works in the Bakehouse as Head of Production.

The family-owned business also gives back, as noted in their social media post: “Since our partnership began in 2017, our Pittsburgh bakehouse has donated more than 66k pounds of food to neighbors in need! None of it would be possible without you, 412 Food Rescue!”

More information is available online: https://www.mediterrabakehouse.com/.

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