I'm not exactly sure why it took me so long to actually step inside this extremely popular Hudson Valley establishment, and I'm afraid that once I tell you what it is, you'll try to take away my Hudson Valley card.

Born and raised in Fishkill, attended college in NY, worked in Poughkeepsie for years, and currently live in Wappingers, but somehow, I've never actually visited this highly rated, people wait in line for hours place that I have driven by thousands of times...until this past weekend.

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Facebook: Mario's Brick Oven Bread
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SEE ALSO: New Ownership at Hopewell Carvel Brings Smiles to Community

What Took You So Long, Turco?

I worked at a family-owned bagel shop in Hopewell Junction when I was in high school and college, arriving at work each weekend around 5:30 am. Just down the street from where I spent all those years was another family-owned business known for its breads, homemade pastas, Italian specialties, and my family often had their goodies on the table for holidays. (My sister and I even grew up with the owner's daughters!)

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But why, during my multi-decade Hudson Valley existence, haven't I visited this shop for myself?

This past Saturday, as I was driving down Rt. 82 in Hopewell to bring my daughter to karate, we were actually running a few minutes early, so I told her we were going to make a quick stop. She, like any eight-year-old, complained for a minute, until we walked into the entrance of Mario's Brick Oven Bread.

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Facebook: Mario's Brick Oven Bread
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READ MORE: What Happened To This Hopewell Junction Pizza Spot?

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When It Comes to Fresh Breads & Pasta in Dutchess County...

It may sound cliche, but I truly felt like a kid in a (carbohydrate) candy shop.

I had just planned on grabbing a loaf of bread, but two shopping bags later, my daughter and I left Mario's Brick Oven Breads with enough to get us through a month or so. A giant baguette, a bastone, some zeppoli that barely made it from the walk to the car, plus the fresh manicotti from the pasta case and the signature roll that they handed my daughter as I paid.

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I know that I'm going to have a hard time driving by without swinging in for just a little something, and have already begun to plan my pre-Easter trip to get my absolute favorite, Easter bread (pictured above).

I hope you aren't second-guessing my commitment to the Hudson Valley, as I do all of the other traditional local things like visit Eggbert yearly, have brought out-of-town visitors to the Culinary and Walkway Over The Hudson, and have a favorite spot for apple and pumpkin picking. Now there's just one more thing I can FINALLY cross off that must-do Hudson Valley list.

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