The above video may not be relevant to your life (I hope it is), but this alarming piece of information surely is: our tofu supply is in jeopardy! Maybe?
Here’s the rough chronology as I’ve gathered it:
- The Bridge, located on Route 66 in Middletown, is cherished among the state’s top “producers of artisan-quality tofu.” Its owner, Stephen A. LaPenta, has run the business since 1978. He ships 6,000 pounds of the stuff weekly.
- Among his regular customers: Main Steet’s It’s Only Natural, UConn, Yale, and—waitforitwaitforitwaitforit—Wesleyan. Specifically, its site states, “WesWings uses our tofu and seitan,” both of which are “served in the dining facilities of Wesleyan University.”
- On Sunday night, a carpet-cleaning van collided with a car on 66, outside The Bridge.
- Said van was subsequently sent hurtling through the shop’s front window, nearly killing a worker inside.
- LaPenta: “The truck went right in the door; it was wider than the door.”
- Tofu. Operations. Temporarily. Halted.
How will Wes deal? Will Usdan’s Vegan section be taking the brunt of The Bridge’s troubles? More from Middletown Patch:
This modest structure with an unassuming sign, a red circle with a simple white pergola in relief, with the words, “The Bridge,” and “598” is familiar to passersby on busy Route 66. Drivers can sometimes glimpse a worker crafting handmade tofu, seitan, amisake (a drink made from fermented rice) and tofu salad (made with chopped carrots and celery) through the large glass storefront window.
The Bridge’s products are stocked at It’s Only Natural Market in Middletown, served at Wesleyan University and the University of Connecticut, and Whole Foods stores, restaurants, cafes and markets throughout the Northeast.
In late 2009, The New York Times took note of the purveyor in its Quick Bites section.
LaPenta is optimistic about reconstructing the building just as it was as soon as he’s allowed. “My intention is to get it up and running as soon as possible. There’s work to be done. Tomorrow we’ll clean it all up. Then we’ll just go from there.”