Paul Lopes will be the first to admit it. Even though it is a Portuguese business, you won't find pops, malasadas, or natas at Central Bakery.

Based in Fall River for decades, the bakery is now in Tiverton. Product selection is limited, to say the least. The bakery makes one item:  the 3 Meal Muffin. That's it. Since 1974.

Lopes said his parents launched the bakery when they realized that no one was selling this particular type of muffin in the United States. They used a recipe that originated on their home island of Sao Miguel in the Azores.

Fifty years later, Lopes of CB Distributors says the 12 employees of co-packer Central Bakery still use the same recipe.

"They only make one item. We ship it all over the country, but it's just one item.  We haven't changed the recipe, but we've automated a good majority of the production."

That muffin is now found in stores under the name "The 3 Meal Muffin."

Because 80% of the process is now automated, one of the MVPs on the staff is the bakery's engineer.

"Things break down all the time," Lopes said.  "And when you have thousands of pounds of dough waiting you need that engineer when the stuff breaks down."

Feeding Fans at Madison Square Garden

One of CB Distributor's biggest clients is Madison Square Garden. The burgers served at events such as New York Knicks basketball games, Rangers hockey games, and Billy Joel concerts are all served on the locally made muffin.

Greendustries via Facebook
Greendustries via Facebook

Inside the Garden, visitors will find Daily Burger, owned by famed restaurateur Drew Nieporent and Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro. According to Lopes, the duo's Tribeca Grill has been using the 3 Meal Muffin for 25 years, so when they were asked to serve the burgers at MSG, it was a boon for the SouthCoast company.

CB Distributors now ships 1,000 cases a month of the 3 Meal Muffins down to Madison Square Garden in Manhattan. Not bad for a recipe from a little village in Portugal, huh?

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