Atticus was founded in 1975 by Charles Negaro in New Haven. It was named after Titus Pomponius Atticus, a Roman who published the works of his close friend Cicero. In 1981 a cafe was added to the bookstore, with a group of Yale art students and New Haveners forming the initial team. Over the next few years Charles expanded the business to over 10 Atticus locations, spanning North Carolina to Massachusetts, before eventually consolidating these back to three stores in New Haven, Middletown, and Amherst to grow their thriving bread sales, and then eventually to just the New Haven store.
By 1996 the original Atticus location on Chapel St was exceeding the capacity of its tiny kitchen on Crown Street, so baking operations were moved to a 3,000 sq ft location on East St, which was also when the Chabaso brand was officially born. Charles knew he wanted the name of the bakery to be named after his three children – Charlie, Abigail, and Sophia. After working out some variations on the chalkboard in the Negaro family kitchen, they settled on Ch-Ab-a-So.
Charlie Negaro Jr, Charles’s son, started working for Atticus and Chabaso in 2006, focusing his time on productions, operations, and management. After a few years, around 2012, Charlie noticed a bread renaissance bubbling on the west coast, and visited the Bread Lab at WSU in Skagit Valley WA where he experienced fresh milled flour from heirloom grains for the first time. It became clear to Charlie that this mindfulness and enthusiasm around bread was the path for the company.
In 2017, Charlie was introduced to Josh Kanter, a baker originally from Connecticut who was then based in Gallup, New Mexico running a bakery and coffee shop he started. Soon after their meeting, Josh packed his car and drove across the country, camping out in national parks along the way, and joined the team at Atticus.
Josh and Charlie’s vision for bread at Atticus focuses on crusty, naturally leavened breads with simple ingredients. As Josh puts it, “I want people to know how good bread can taste.” The next step in realizing this vision is partnering with the Bass family farm in Scotland, CT to grow 25 acres of Glenn hard red spring wheat. Pending a good growing season, this wheat will be milled in-house and used for the next wave of Atticus bread.