Nana Rose inspires granddaughter’s authentic, one-of-a-kind Italian bakery in Tulsa

TULSA, Okla. — Samantha Short’s Sicilian grandmother, Nana Rose, is one of the most important people in her life.

When Samantha was a child, instead of going to daycare, Nana Rose would share with her all of her secret recipes.

“She started teaching me from, literally, at four years old. We were making meatballs and sauce and pasta and things light that,” said Samantha.

Samantha grew up, and met Jonathan while they were both working as paramedics for EMSA.

“I just was coming out of paramedic school, and we fell in love pretty quickly, and then ended up having a baby shortly after,” reminisced Samantha.

Jonathan says he fell in love with her cooking. Her cannolis, her chicken piccata and her Italian cream cake are Jonathan’s top three favorite dishes Samantha makes.

The Shorts have two boys, a seven-year-old and a five-month-old baby. They also have a bun in the oven expected to arrive in June. The couple certainly have their hands full.

While she was pregnant with their newborn, Samantha began to reconnect with her Sicilian roots.

She started to bake cakes out of her home. Business began to pick up. Samantha started to get about 40 orders a week.

“I thought, why not make a career change into something that I enjoy doing?” said Samantha.

Her mom owns a store in a shopping area on the corner of 91st and Memorial. When a space opened up a few doors down, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to start her own authentic Italian bakery.

It’s been about seven months of hard work, preparing for the grand opening of Nana Rose’s Italian Bakery & Market, named after Samantha’s grandma.

“Right now we are putting some of the finishing touches as far as construction goes. It’s just the fun part of decorating and starting to bake some of these recipes,” said Samantha.

For the pastry bakery side of the shop, expect all fresh Italian pastries.

“We’re going to have specialty cannolis, like maple bacon, espresso, and pistachio. You can come in and get all cakes for birthdays, like Italian cream cake,” explains Samantha. “We have our cream cake, which has a rum sauce in it. And then we have our 20 different Italian cookie flavors. You can come in and get fresh biscotti or breads.”

Samantha taught Jonathon to make Italian bread.

“So, all of our fresh bread that’s made every morning, he’ll help me come in and do that. He thinks he’s better at making bread than me. That’s okay, it’s his job,” she teased.

Their market side will provide fresh pasta, meatballs, cutlets and a whole dry cut section.

“Everything you need for a good meal,” Samantha described.

The Shorts are also planning on honoring first responders at the bakery.

“When they come in on shift, exhausted and hungry. It’s our honor to give them a fresh meal or warm drink. I am excited to support my community, through my family’s love of Italian food!” expressed Samantha.

Nana Rose’s Italian Bakery & Market is scheduled to open March 12 at 11 a.m. It’s located at 8929 South Memorial Drive, but since the bakery is so close to Bixby, the City of Bixby will solidify the day with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Samantha believes that her bakery will be the first exclusive and only authentic Italian bakery in Oklahoma, based on her research.

“You don’t have to be Italian to love Italian food. When you walk in, I want you to feel like you’re part of the family, and really make it an experience. Not just good food,” said Samantha.

Nana Rose is 82 and living in Florida. Samantha hopes that her grandmother will be able to be there for the bakery’s opening day.