Judies Closes Abruptly

Thomas MacMillanJust before Christmas, Judies European Bakery on Grove Street served its last loaf of peasant bread and shut its doors for good.

After years of serving up soups and sandwiches on Grove Street and delivering bread to local stores, Judies fell victim to “the continued downturn in the economy.”

That’s the way chef and owner Dave Brooks explained the sudden closure in an email to catering customers sent out on Saturday, Dec. 22. Brooks couldn’t be reached for further comment.

“It is with deep regret that I must inform you that after 15 years in business Judies European Bakery will be closing its doors forever, effective immediately,” Brooks wrote in the letter. “Every effort has been made to avoid this unfortunate result.”

The abrupt cessation of bread deliveries took some Judies customers by surprise. Edge of the Woods’ Peter Dodge said the last delivery his natural foods store received from Judies was on Dec. 24. “It caught us off guard,” Dodge said.

Romeo & Cesare Gourmet market’s Fran Simeone said deliveries to the Italian grocery stopped on Saturday, Dec. 22. “We got a letter a couple days later.”

Simeone said the letter offered an apology for any inconvenience.

“It was a popular bread,” Simeone said. “It’s sad.”

Everyone loved Judies “peasant bread,” she said. “It was like Judies bread, you know? That nobody makes.”

A visit to the bakery on Grove Street this week found a darkened storefront with a sign indicating only that Judies would be closed for the holidays.

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posted by: HhE on January 4, 2013  9:49am

This makes me very sad.

posted by: Morris Cove New on January 4, 2013  9:49am

We just purchased a gift card in the amount of $25.00 as a Christmas gift.  where do we go to get a refund. since they have now closed.

posted by: Mister Jones on January 4, 2013  10:41am

I’m mourning the loss of great New Haven bread, and sorry for a family that’s probably lost everything trying to keep their business going. [Sorry Morris Cove New, but I’d be more concerned about how they will heat their house, pay their mortgage, feed their family and deal with the debt from a failed business, than your gift card.]

posted by: Stylo on January 4, 2013  10:50am

This is a bummer. I loved buying their breads at VIlla Gourmet in Milford.

posted by: alycia on January 4, 2013  11:05am

I’m so sad. I will miss their peasant bread terribly. It reminded me of my grandma’s bread. What a loss to our community!

posted by: anonymous on January 4, 2013  11:06am

This was a nice place. Wishing the best to the owner. 

Looks like the conversion of Grove Street from a useless and desolate one-way street, into a thriving and safe two-way street, came too late for them.

posted by: Morris Cove New on January 4, 2013  11:21am

Mister Jones.

The rumor is they have opened their business some where else and if that is not the case I do feel for that family and wish them well and the gift card was bought the week they closed they could of said sorry we are closing did not mean any harm of what I said.

posted by: sillyputty on January 4, 2013  11:24am

Very sad. The smell of freshly baked bread wafting out of the doors in the evenings was like heaven.  And they had just the best sandwiches—unique combinations (with fresh ingredients) that were one-of-a-kind for New Haven.  It will be sorely missed.  I wish we had known it was in trouble so that something could have been done to prevent this.  I hope another independent-minded owner will set up shop there, rather than another chain.

posted by: Long Time NH Resident on January 4, 2013  11:37am

Seems like two week old news to me.

Too bad, another local business gone.

@ anonymous How can Grove Street function as two-way street on this block- it would be chaos with the way the garages are setup. It would also eliminate about 20 parking spots- how would that have helped any business ? What exactly are you thinking that would be feasible over there??

posted by: sillyputty on January 4, 2013  12:36pm

@Long Time NH Resident
I think it’s an unfair criticism to call this 2-week old news.  The only way the permanent closure came to light (rather than a holiday closure, as the posted sign said) was a Dec. 22 letter to catering clients.  Considering the speed of U.S. mail, the unknown number and location of catering clients who received the letter, and allowing the Indy a day to confirm the story and reach out to the owner for comment, I think the news is plenty timely.  If the Indy didn’t cover it, we still wouldn’t know.

posted by: Long Time NH Resident on January 4, 2013  2:52pm


The story said an email sent Dec 22 explaining the closing. not regular mail, I was under the impression that anyone of the customers that received the email would have started to tell others. This town is so small that this sort of thing spreads very quickly. Ask NHI they’ll tell ya.

I stand by my comment as I am entitled to my opinion as you are entitled to yours.

BTW it wasn’t directed at NHI for criticism, it was just plainly stated as a fact.

Like I said its too bad we’ve lost yet another local business. Just hope it isn’t replaced with a anti-law enforcement Denny’s.

posted by: Gauss on January 4, 2013  6:32pm

I loved Judie’s, and it was my special treat for weekdays when I didn’t have to work. I still can’t believe they closed for good! I know they obviously don’t owe us anything, but I still wish they had posted something on their website or Facebook or at least on their windows. I actually thought they were only closed for vacation…

posted by: streever on January 5, 2013  5:48pm

Long Time NH Resident:
Romeo got a regular letter, not an email: not sure who did get an email, but their daily customers for bread first were notified by post (many days after the last bread shipment came in).

I hope they are well & taking care. A tough time to go out of business.

posted by: quinnipiacave on January 6, 2013  9:58am

This is very sad, but also very strange. There are ways to properly wind down a business, and this is not one of them. They were usually quite busy, had a robust catering and wholesale business, survived through the depths of the recession…to close now? Something’s amiss. There is STILL no notice of the closing on their web site of Facebook page. To simply close up with no notice to customers (other than catering clients) and vanish…was there a family trauma, trouble with the landlord, embezzlement? And to Long Time NH Resident: the email was sent out to catering clients, many of whom were Yale related, the day after everyone left for their winter recess. That’s why we’re only learning about this and processing it now. That said, it would be nice if the Independent did a follow-up story with a bit more investigation. My hearts go out to the employees, many of whom I’d known for years, who are now without jobs.

posted by: ISR on January 6, 2013  1:41pm

“Sorry Morris Cove New, but I’d be more concerned about how they will heat their house, pay their mortgage, feed their family and deal with the debt from a failed business, than your gift card.”

Sorry, Mr. Jones,  I think it’s egregious to take money for gift cards if you know you’re going out of business. Not saying this is the case with Judie’s but, if it were, can they heat their house or pay their mortgage with a clear conscience?

You might have a claim if the business goes into bankruptcy, or you can file a complaint:

“A recent success story out of Missouri is a good example. In that case, a local spa in the St. Louis area, Spa 151, suddenly went out of business, leaving several hundred gift card holders with worthless gift cards. More than 300 consumers filed complaints with the Attorney General’s office alleging that they held gift cards that could not be redeemed. The Missouri Attorney General was able to get the former owners of Spa 151 to pay up to $103,000 to redeem the cards and certificates.”