Viktor Vassiliev is the co-owner with Gennadiy Verebeychik of New York Bread on Neptune Avenue in Coney Island. Founded 17 years ago, the bakery produces and sells 30 different kinds of European and Russian-style bread and ships its products to 35 states. A native of St. Petersburg, Vassiliev graduated from the academy of art there, but after emigrating to the United States he sought to start a business that would be successful and support his family. He concluded that "bread is what people need" after discovering that there was not enough European-style bread in New York City.
Vassiliev and his partner brought a bread technologist from Russia who worked with them for two years. He recounts the challenges of recreating Russian recipes in America where the water, flour and air are different. They worked hard and were able to make bread close to what you'd find in Russia, he says. After recovering from Hurricane Sandy, the bakery has expanded to include a Russian grocery store and is popular with residents of the neighborhood.