1961 Ephraim and Odette Skally moved to Cincinnati from New York City.
1977 The Skallys founded Old World Bakery in Cincinnati, introducing pita bread to the area.
1982 After much success, Old World Bakery expanded.
1982 Skally’s restaurant was born, featuring pita pocket sandwiches and pizzas.
1986 Old World Bakery added bagels to its production line.
2018 Skally’s opened in West Chester, achieving Odette’s dream for a second location.
2019 Skally’s celebrated a one-year anniversary with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Did You Know?
The Skally family opened their restaurant to show Cincinnatians how to use the pita breads they baked in their Old World Bakery.
Ephraim had to rework the bagel recipe to match the Cincinnati palate. New York style bagels were considered too chewy by most midwesterners.
The street address pictured on the Old World Bakery mural in the West Chester dining room is a nod to Odette Skally’s birth year—1933.
There’s nothing like the fresh-baked bread at Skally’s to make you feel at home. When friends and family gather around a table in the West Chester dining room, they are treated to the same tried-and-true recipes the founding family has been enjoying for generations. Love and care are stirred into each dish at the restaurant, now run by the Skally children, Ephraim Skally, Drew Skally and Cheryl Deleon. Last month, Skally’s celebrated its one-year anniversary in our community and 42 years of baking in Cincinnati.
All in the Family
When Ephraim and Odette Skally brought their young family to Cincinnati, they yearned for the foods they had eaten as they courted and lived in New York. Ephraim had worked in a Rhode Island bakery as a child, discovering a passion for baking. As their family grew in Cincinnati, Ephraim often did the cooking and especially enjoyed making pizza. The Skallys opened Old World Bakery in North College Hill in 1977 and began selling their traditional pita bread and later added bagels. Soon following, in 1982, they opened Skally’s restaurant, featuring their own baked goods and Ephraim’s favorite, pizza.
“We always loved making pizza at home,” Drew says. “We were from New York and ate a lot of pizza when we were young. This was back when LaRosa’s had one store,” he laughs. “So, Dad would make the dough at home.”
“We used to bring bagels and pita back from New York when we would go visit relatives,” Drew adds. “You couldn’t find that kind of bread around here.”
New Location, Old World Recipes
Skally's made a move to the entertainment complex on Civic Centre Boulevard in 2018. The dining room design and décor reveals the rich family history in which it is rooted. Arched doorways invite diners to pull up a chair and stay awhile. Black-and-white family photographs and hand-painted art by beloved nieces and nephews adorn the walls. The outdoor, covered patio with a brick fireplace is one of the best in the area, a relaxing spot to unwind and refuel.
“My mom and dad always wanted to branch out,” explains Drew. "So, now they’re gone, but when I came across this spot, I knew it was for us.”
“You’ll see photos of Mom and Dad’s engagement party and my mom’s family when she was a girl,” Drew says.
“We had a painting party out on the patio for the cousins,” Ephraim Jr. adds. “We let them go wild and hung it all up.”
Skally’s has the feel of a family reunion, where favorite dishes are served in generous portions, as if straight from Grandma’s wooden spoon. The family-friendly menu spotlights Mediterranean treats like gyros, hummus, pocket sandwiches served in their very own pita bread and out-of-this-world pizzas, but extends to modern bistro-style burgers and heaping plates of appetizers like cheese fries and potato skins. Don’t miss their homemade salad dressings and sauces, tasty toppers to fresh plates of greens and meats. Be sure to save room for melt-in-your-mouth baklava, brownies and cookies.
“Anyone can make food,” Ephraim Jr. says, “but we like to make it the best. You can taste the difference in the depth of quality of our products."
“We make everything. Everything is made with fresh ingredients and in-house,” he adds.
The next generation of Skallys are carrying on the family tradition. They divide the tasks according to their personal interests and skills, a team united by the desire to carry out their parents’ dreams and serve delicious food.
“It’s a good team. Everyone has their specialty and does what they’re good at,” Ephraim Jr. says.
Bread is their business—quality and efficiency are the Skally legacy. They enjoy welcoming folks to their new location to share the family’s love for gathering around the table.
“We’ve been doing this a long time—42 years,” Drew says, smiling.
Come home to Skally’s. There’s always room for one more.
9558 Civic Centre Boulevard, Suite D, West Chester. 513.342.5004, SkallysRestaurant.com