Bro’s Dough Makes Black History


Bro’s Dough gives customers different types of red and white pizza. Photo by: Melody Rivera

Melody Rivera, Social Media Editor

Bro’s Dough, a restaurant located on 448 New Britain Ave, was officially recognized as the first black-owned pizzeria in Hartford by Black Culture News (@blackculturenews_ ) via Instagram on Feb. 1, 2022, the first day of Black History Month.

The restaurant owner, Walden St. Juste, initially had no idea about this accomplishment. He said the feeling of owning the first black-owned pizzeria did not hit him until people started talking about it online.

“It was like being famous for the first time,” St. Juste said. “We’re grateful that they did that.”

St. Juste said business for the restaurant is currently “going phenomenal” thanks to social media, but talked about the uncertainty he had about it when the establishment first opened. Bro’s Dough first opened on Aug. 3, 2020, just a few months after the COVID-19 pandemic started.

“It was a rollercoaster because no one was coming in and it was scary,” St. Juste said.

Despite the slow start of the pizzeria, St. Juste said Bro’s Dough was able to succeed during the pandemic because it’s a take-out restaurant.

“People preferred curbside, so we strived because of that,” he said.

St. Juste also said the decision to have the restaurant be a pizzeria, thanks to a brainstorming session with his business partner, helped gain interest among his customers.

“People are intrigued to see if we make pizza as good as the Italians,” he said.

St. Juste said Bro’s Dough’s most popular dishes are Hot Roni, a pizza topped with fresh mozzarella, pepperoni, pickled jalapenos, fresh garlic, and honey, and the BBQ Chicken Calzone, which is stuffed with ricotta cheese, diced tomatoes, chicken, caramelized onions, and BBQ sauce. He said his favorite dish is the Stuffed Bread Calzone because he could put any toppings he wanted in it along with mozzarella and marinara sauce.

Besides running the pizzeria, St. Juste said his favorite thing to do as a restaurant owner is community service. Bro’s Dough has done pizza parties for schools in Hartford and would give away free slices of pizza to people in the neighborhood outside, whether they were sitting down or waiting for a bus. St. Juste said he has many ideas and plans for the future of his business.

“I’m willing to expand to a bar and grill in a bigger area,” he said. “In the future, maybe I’ll franchise the restaurant.”

St. Juste also said he plans to add more items such as pasta and salad. He said he especially wants more vegan options because customers have requested them.

St. Juste said he never dreamed of or intended to pursue a career in the food business, but the COVID-19 pandemic inspired him to take this route. What started as what he called a “gamble” became a ground-breaking moment in Black History.

“We’re excited and proud about it,” St. Juste said.